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The Report by Mohammad Isam in Hambantota
March 23, 2013
Sri Lanka 238 for 2 (Dilshan 113*, Sangakkara 63) beat Bangladesh 259 for 8 (Tamim 112, Nasir 73*) by eight wickets (D-L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Bangladesh's first ODI of the year should be remembered for several events, including a Tamim Iqbal century, but the assault on their bowlers by the Sri Lanka openers overshadowed all that. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kushal Janith Perera, playing only his fifth ODI, took less than an hour to decimate an already feeble pace attack and demoralise the spinners, Bangladesh's strength. Sri Lanka eased to an eight-wicket victory, giving them a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Bangladesh's score of 258 for 9 was supposed to test Sri Lanka, especially in Hambantota where the previous highest successful chase was 211. The added advantage for Bangladesh was the 85-minute delay in-between innings due to a power failure in two light towers, which gave Sri Lanka a revised target of 238 in 41 overs.
Sri Lanka's task had been made more difficult, but Dilshan and Perera responded ruthlessly. They added 106 in just 12.1 overs, hammering 13 boundaries and a six. Seven of those fours came off the first 14 deliveries that Abul Hasan and Rubel Hossain served up. It was one of those games the late Tony Greig would have loved to call; one of those carving the bowling, Kushal, was almost a copy of Sanath Jayasuriya.
Save the superstitious touches of the pad, helmet and bat, the stance and the shots of Kushal were reminiscent of Jayasuriya's style of play. The first square cut threw you back to the mid 1990s, when Jayasuriya gained the reputation for being a destroyer of bowling attacks.
As the fours poured in, there were signs of more similarity. Kushal's grip tends to stay towards the bottom of the handle as well, but his attacking instincts almost led to an early dismissal when he swept one straight to deep square leg. But Abdur Razzak parried the chance over the boundary ropes.
Kushal took a lot of the limelight, being the younger batsman, but it was Dilshan who was the wrecker-in-chief. Dilshan contributed 56 to the opening partnership, and later consolidated on the start with Kumar Sangakkara. It appeared as if the pair had slowed down considerably but they scored at a fair clip, though the Bangladesh bowlers bowled better with an extra fielder outside the 30-yard circle. Sangakkara made 63 off 68 balls, adding 128 runs for the second wicket. He was caught at the third-man boundary, five runs short of victory.
Dilshan reached his 15th ODI century*, his second against Bangladesh, in the 31st over. He was severe on anything overpitched, and there were several offerings from Rubel Hossain, Abul Hasan and Abdur Razzak, who were unable to stop the flow of boundaries.
The other century of the day came from Tamim's bat, but Bangladesh suffered a setback as he was ruled out of the series after injuring his right thumb during the chase. The century, his fourth in ODIs, was his first in international cricket in almost three years. It was also the first hundred in the format against Sri Lanka by a Bangladesh batsman in 31 matches between the teams.
Tamim's 112 off 136 balls, and an unbeaten 73 off 59 balls by Nasir Hossain, was undermined by the others' failure to make a significant contribution. Sri Lanka's bowlers showed patience to induce Anamul Haque, Mohammad Ashraful and captain Mushfiqur Rahim to play ordinary shots, and get out against the run of play. One dragged it on, the other fell to a lobbed drive, and Mushfiqur fell to an ugly hoick - the Bangladesh top and middle-order collapsed in the space of 31 deliveries.
Tamim held the innings together till the 44th over, being involved in key partnerships with Mahmudullah (for the fourth wicket) and Nasir (for the fifth). He played some of his favourite shots, especially the cuts and drives, as he found different angles and enough height to clear the fielders. Whenever the bowlers pitched it up or provided him width, he was at it quickly. Each of the twelve boundaries was well thought, while the six off Lasith Malinga was a calculated loft over long-on late in the innings. After he was run out, Nasir took over the baton to give the innings a final flourish. He smashed six fours and three sixes, as Bangladesh added 90 runs in the last 10 overs.
Sri Lanka picked up those 90 runs in the first 9.3 overs, without losing a wicket, facing two new balls and against bowlers who represent Bangladesh's "best available options" at the moment. The home side, too, has to fare better with the ball, but their challenge in this department is going to be much easier.
08:22am GMT, March 24: Article has been updated to reflect actual number of ODI centuries Tillakaratne Dilshan has scored
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondentFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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