The Bangladeshis in Sri Lanka, 2002

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

Bangladesh had played a single Test in Colombo the previous September, as part of the Asian Test Championship, when the Sri Lankan captain, Sanath Jayasuriya, showed how he rated them by ordering two of his batsmen to retire out when they had scored enough runs. Returning in July for a two-match series, Bangladesh still seemed to be regarded as little more than practice material. After a full-strength side had won Sri Lanka's biggest ever victory in the First Test, the selectors controversially decided to rest seven players, including Muttiah Muralitharan, who had just taken ten wickets, and Aravinda de Silva, who had scored a double-hundred in what proved to be his final Test. Jayasuriya protested, especially at the omission of Murali, and the sports minister, Johnston Fernando, expressed his disappointment, but declined to intervene as he had done in a similar case six months earlier.

Even against a mostly second-string team, Bangladesh failed to last the distance, losing the Second Test by 288 runs inside four days. That stretched their Test record to 12 defeats from 13 matches. Although Sri Lanka themselves had had to wait 14 Tests for their first victory, and the record remains New Zealand's 45, it reinforced the argument that the ICC might have been premature in granting Bangladesh full Test status.

It was a useful tonic for Sri Lanka, however, who were keen to get back to winning ways after a disastrous tour of England. By the end of the series, they had won ten home Tests on the trot. They went on to sweep the board in the shorter version of the game, winning all three one-day internationals, though a lack of public enthusiasm for these easy pickings - Bangladesh suffered their 50th defeat in 53 one-day internationals - was reflected in poor crowds for most of the tour, even when entry was free. The tourists were offered one consolation at the end of the one-day games when their captain, Khaled Masud, was named Man of the Series for his tidy wicket-keeping and consistent batting.

Match reports for

1st Test: Sri Lanka v Bangladesh at Colombo (PSS), Jul 21-23, 2002
Scorecard

2nd Test: Sri Lanka v Bangladesh at Colombo (SSC), Jul 28-31, 2002
Scorecard

1st ODI: Sri Lanka v Bangladesh at Colombo (SSC), Aug 4, 2002
Scorecard

2nd ODI: Sri Lanka v Bangladesh at Colombo (SSC), Aug 5, 2002
Scorecard

3rd ODI: Sri Lanka v Bangladesh at Colombo (RPS), Aug 7, 2002
Scorecard

© John Wisden & Co