Khaled Mahmud leaves the stage for the final time © AFP
Khaled Mahmud, Bangladesh's veteran allrounder and former captain, finally bowed out after the first ODI against Sri Lanka at Bogra. And he signed off with a gutsy 36 which rescued his side from ignominy, leaving the field to a standing ovation from a capacity crowd.

Mahmud's announcements of his impending retirement had become as frequent as his Test wickets, but his decision to hang on for one last day in the sun worked out well. It could have gone horribly wrong, but he saved one of his better performances with the bat until the end. It was a far cry from when he was booed off by home supporters after an abject performance - both personally and by his team - against England at Chittagong in 2003-04.

His stats do not make pretty reading. In 77 ODIs he scored 991 runs at 14.36 and took 67 wickets at 42.76 with an economy rate of 5.07. He also played 12 Tests, scoring 266 runs at 12.09 and capturing 13 wickets at 64.00. But against that, it should be remembered that he was part of a team that was being beaten regularly, and for some of that time had the added burden of the captaincy. His first-class record, however, is far more impressive.

While those statistics were often ridiculed on the international stage - never more so than when he briefly had a Test bowling average of over 400 - he stuck to the task in hand, and was a valued contributor in a young squad off the field. At 35, he was a positive geriatric in such a youthful side.

Mahmud will continue to play club cricket, and the chances are that he will pop up again in some capacity. Bangladesh cannot afford to lose someone with his wealth of experience.