Bangladesh slump to humiliating defeat

Charlie Austin

August 4, 2002

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On Sunday Bangladesh had pointed to a brighter future with a respectable performance, but on Monday they reinforced their reputation as international minnows, as they were bowled out for a humiliating 76 at the Sinhalese Sports Club.

Sri Lanka needed just three and a half hours to seal the three-match series, as sponsors counted their losses and the television broadcaster searched its archives for sufficient replays to fill the remainder of the day.

It was Bangladesh's lowest total in their 52-match history, surpassing the miserly 87 they had scored against Pakistan at Dhaka in 2000.

Perhaps worse, they had to endure the ignominy of extras contributing more runs to their total than their highest scorer: skipper Khaled Mushud, who was last man out for 15.

Sri Lanka lost two wickets chasing, including Sanath Jayasuriya, who was caught at short fine leg off a mistimed pull for the second consecutive day, before eventually overhauling their paltry target with 34.3 overs to spare.

Mashud, one of the few Bangladeshi batsmen on the tour to place a consistently high price on his wicket, was not best pleased: "They bowled well, but we batted really badly - it was a really disappointing performance."

He is optimistic about the future, but want clearer signs of progress: "We have some really young, talented players. Maybe we can't win all the time but we have to do better than this, improving day by day.

Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya was delighted. "We can now have a rest - these back-to-back matches are always tiring," he joked. "Our bowling and fielding was much better today. These are the two aspects of our game that we are working on hardest, so that's pleasing."

The tourists had started brightly enough after winning a potentially important toss on a re-used pitch, with both openers crashing a boundary apiece in the early overs.

But the innings soon subsided, Chaminda Vaas inducing a wild pull from Mohammad Ashraful (5) and Dilhara Fernando picking up a brace of wickets with his slower ball, a cleverly disguised delivery that slips through his fingers at the last moment (27 for three).

Dilhara Fernando won the Man of the Match for his opening burst and Jayasuriya was delighted to have him back after injury: "He hasn't played a lot of cricket because of the stress fracture but he's coming good now. His slower ball is one of the best deliveries in world cricket at the moment and he's a fast improving cricketer."

Hasantha Fernando, Sri Lanka's third seamer in this game as they left out pace bowler Chamila Gamage, struck in his second over, fortuitously trapping Habibul Bashar (10) lbw when the right-hander looked to have been hit outside the line of off-stump (40 for four).

Muttiah Muralitharan then joined the fray, grabbing two quick wickets to move past Shane Warne in the all-time ODI wicket-taking list.

Tushar Imran (10), yesterday's hero, bat-padded a catch straight into the hands of Russel Arnold at silly point and, with five close fielders crowded around the bat, former captain Naimur Rahman (0) was dismissed for a duck as he edged Muralitharan's straighter delivery into the gloves of Sangakkara behind the stumps (51 for six).

Hasantha Fernando grabbed his second wicket when one-day specialist Khaled Mahmud (0) drove a simple catch to Marvan Atapattu at cover before leg-spinner Upul Chandana wrapped up the innings with three wickets for just two runs.

The final match of the series will be played at Premadasa International Stadium on Wednesday, when Sri Lanka will give opportunities to other members of the 15-man squad.

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Charlie Austin Sri Lanka editor When Charlie Austin left for Sri Lanka after graduating from Sussex University, he was a planning a winter's cricket in the tropics and a six-month stint with an environmental NGO. His mother's worst fears were soon realised when it became clear that he had fallen in love with the island. Six months have now become eight years and Colombo has become his home. He joined Cricinfo in February 2000 and now heads operations in Sri Lanka, responsible for both sales and editorial. He is also the director of a UK-based travel company called Red Dot Tours, and is currently ghosting Muttiah Muralitharan's autobiography.
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