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July 25, 2007
Sri Lanka 196 (Mubarak 72, Dilshan 39) beat Bangladesh 157 (Tamim 54, Jayasuriya 4 for 14) by 39 runs
Bangladesh were left to rue five catches and three run-out opportunities as they allowed Sri Lanka to recover from 61 for 4 to 196 and then squandered a manageable run chase to go down 3-0 in Colombo.
Put in to bat on a sluggish pitch, overnight rain and early morning showers in Colombo delayed the start and reduced the game to 40-overs a side with Sri Lanka's top order collapsing to an inspired attack. However, a generous dose of dropped catches all around the ground allowed Jehan Mubarak and Tillakaratne Dilshan to build a vital 78-run partnership. Mubarak stuck around for a career-best 72 before an inexperienced Sri Lankan bowling attack used the short deliveries to secure a 39-run win.
Bangladesh began horribly chasing 197. The first 11 runs came from wides, but Farveez Maharoof's double-strike did the damage. Javed Omar got a game but didn't contribute, pushing the fourth ball of the innings to Mahela Jayawardene at second slip. Mushfiqur Rahim was promoted to No. 3 but, like Omar, failed to inspire any confidence. Fifth ball he faced, Rahim chased a good length delivery and edged into Kumar Sangakkara's gloves.
After a brief 42-run fightback, Mohammad Ashraful (20) could consider himself unlucky to be given out leg before to one from Nuwan Kulasekara that was missing leg stump. Shakib Al Hasan could offer no such excuse, fishing at a short-pitched delivery from Fernando and getting the faintest of nicks to Sangakkara. Aftab Ahmed didn't last long either as he got glove on an attempted pull shot against Kulasekara.
Faced with the somewhat unfamiliar role of Bangladesh's last glimmer of hope, Tamim Iqbal mixed caution with lunacy and aggression during his 74-ball 55. He danced down the track wildly and missed completely in between some sweet back-foot punches and one delicate flick for six. Dilhara Fernando gave him a work over with the short stuff, and as wickets fell at one end, Tamim held back on the big shots and worked the singles instead. A hamstring injury forced him to resort to a runner before he crossed fifty.
Having added 60 for the sixth-wicket with debutant Mahmudullah (35 from 53) Tamim tried to hit Sanath Jayasuriya out of the park but instead rewarded Jayawardene's decision to introduce the veteran in the 31st over. In a jiffy Jayasuriya then plucked out three the remaining four wickets and Fernando returned to york the No. 10 batsman.
After winning the toss, the first of Bangladesh's blips in the field came in the second over when Shakib, at cover, failed to clutch an airy drive off Jayasuriya when he was yet to get off the mark. Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga fell cheaply to the impressive Shahadat and Syed Rasel but Chamara Kapugedera was dropped on 0 and 5. Though the first was too thick an edge for Rahim to take while standing up to the stumps the second was deplorable, Reza grassing a waist-high chance at second slip. You didn't need a lip reader to make out what Shahadat said after seeing that catch go down.
Bangladesh removed Kapugedera and Sangakkara in relative succession, but their butterfingered fielders allowed Mubarak and Dilshan to stitch together a match-winning partnership. At the 20-over mark, Bangladesh appeared in command amid a tight bowling display, but two alarming lapses in Ferhad's sixth over ultimately made the difference between victory and defeat. Dilshan was let off by Rahim when on 11, as the wicketkeeper failed to hold onto an outside edge off a cramped cut shot. A boundary later, Mubarak's mis-timed slog down the ground was misjudged by Abdur Razzak at mid-on, and landed safely between two converging fielders.
The two batsmen didn't need another invitation to lead the revival. While Mubarak was more watchful, having to graft against the spinners initially, Dilshan walked out in a situation tailor-made for his fidgety, 'I'm-going-to-get-under-your-skin style'. In no time Bangladesh were on the back foot as Dilshan spread the field with his cheeky dabs and cuts. Mubarak grew in confidence, using his feet to the spinners, swept hard, and constantly looked for singles. While he crease ticked along to his third ODI fifty, Dilshan threaded the ball into the gaps before he finally failed to carry off a cheeky reverse pull and gave Mahmudullah his first wicket. Razzak finished with 3 for 47 as Bangladesh bowled Sri Lanka out for the first time all tour, but Mubarak's presence until the last over proved the defining innings, something Tamim would have done well to emulate.
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