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Andrew Fidel Fernando
March 24, 2013
March 25, Hambantota
Start time 1430 local (0900GMT)
"Demolished" was the word Angelo Mathews used to describe what the Sri Lanka openers did to the Bangladesh attack in the first ODI. An eight wicket victory with more than five overs to spare is difficult enough for Bangladesh to swallow, but the psychological setbacks incurred during that violent stand may take some getting over as well. The visitors now only have one day in which to launch a series-saving comeback, and with Tamim Iqbal heading home because of a finger fracture, Bangladesh's chances of levelling the series seem slim.
The tourists' best hope lies in dismissing Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara early and attacking Sri Lanka's inexperienced middle order, who have not always been an assured ODI unit, particularly against spin. Kushal Perera may have been a capable walloping assistant to Dilshan in the first ODI, but he is yet to make a half century in international cricket, while Dinesh Chandimal has a poor record at home in limited overs cricket, and Angelo Mathews has not been at his best against high-quality slow bowling. Bangladesh must ensure they do not allow the seniors to walk the young Sri Lankan batsmen through their innings, like they have for much of the tour.
The hosts, will have been thrilled with the crushing first-up win, and the partnership that set it up, but there was plenty to dislike about their cricket on Saturday evening as well. The bowling was wayward, particularly at the death when Nasir Hossain led the charge, but even earlier in the innings, when Tamim made use of the dross being served up at regular intervals. Sri Lanka have in their ranks a man who at his best can deliver yorker after searing yorker, but Lasith Malinga has been wildly inconsistent over the last 14 months, and Sri Lanka have bled late runs as a result. The hosts gave up 90 runs in the last ten overs in the first match, and captain Angelo Mathews may be prudent to devise a failsafe plan, should Malinga have an indifferent outing.
Sri Lanka's fielding has also been abysmal throughout the tour, and despite a diving catch from Kushal Janith Perera to dismiss Mohammad Ashraful, they will not have been pleased with their overall effort on Saturday. Mathews poor catching form hit rock bottom when he spilt a sitter off Tamim when he was on 55, and wayward throws and a lack of fielding initiative led to bonus runs and reprieves.
In the spotlight
Nuwan Kulasekara was the worst of Sri Lanka's bowlers in the first match, having conceded 67 runs in his nine overs. He had had an exceptional limited overs tour of Australia, but after playing him in both Tests, Bangladesh's batsmen have grown wise to his inswing, and his away-seamer has not been effective in this tour so far either. Control is often his best asset, but Bangladesh's batsmen seemed to have targeted him by backing away and blasting him through the off side. Kulasekara has 132 matches experience, and he will want to maintain his reputation for reliability through the rest of the series.
With Tamim gone, and Shakib Al Hasan never having been on tour through injury, the batting burden for Bangladesh falls heavy on the shoulders of captain Mushfiqur Rahim. He made his country's first international double-hundred in Galle, but was less impressive in the second Test, and fell playing an ugly swipe to Mathews in the first ODI. He is already tasked with rallying his side to prevent a series loss, but will now feel he has to contribute substantially with the bat as well.
Mathews said after the last ODI that his side would not look to make major changes, and with no injuries plaguing their squad, Sri Lanka will likely retain the same XI.
Sri Lanka: (probable) 1. Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2. Kushal Janith Perera, 3. Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4. Dinesh Chandimal, 5. Lahiru Thirimanne, 6. Angelo Mathews (c), 7. Jeevan Mendis, 8. Thisara Perera, 9. Nuwan Kulasekara, 10. Sachithra Senanayake, 11. Lasith Malinga
Jahurul Islam is the like-for-like replacement for Tamim but there is the option of using Mohammad Ashraful as the opener and letting Mominul Haque bat in the middle-order. It is a fair call given how much they need more batting stability, but they could also stay with a similar line-up. In the bowling, Shahadat Hossain may replace Abul Hasan.
Bangladesh: (probable) 1 Anamul Haque, 2 Jahurul Islam, 3 Mohammad Ashraful, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 5 Mahmudullah, 6 Nasir Hossain, 7 Ziaur Rahman, 8 Sohag Gazi, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Abul Hasan/Shahadat Hossain, 11 Rubel Hossain.
Pitch and conditions
Winning the toss may go a considerable distance towards winning the match, with the side fielding second having been hampered by both the dew in the evening, and a pitch was not at its best for strokeplay until later in the evening. The strip prepared for the second match looks similar to the first, and will likely have some assistance for the seam bowlers early on, with moderate turn for the spinners as well.
A thunderstorm only just missed the cricket on Saturday, having hit the nearby Sooriyawewa town, but not the stadium itself, and similar storms are forecast for the region for the 25th.
"Our bowling and our catching was not successful today. I dropped a catch as well. But our batsmen covered up all those mistakes. I think in the future we need to sort those problems out before they have a big influence on the match."
Angelo Mathews identifies his sides weaknesses.
"Somebody has to stand up and take the opportunity in my absence. We are a good one-day team, so we have the ability to bounce back. We have to win the next game and I think it is possible."
Tamim Iqbal is optimistic that his team will fare fine without him.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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