It is always the norm whenever controversy mires a sporting result for the actual sport to be overshadowed. There is also the case of outstanding sporting feats going underappreciated due to their coming in losing causes.

In the aftermath of Bangladesh's thrilling victory over Sri Lanka in the Nidahas Trophy, both these elements are likely to play a considerable role in upstaging one of the great counterattacking T20I efforts.

Having collapsed to 41 for 5 at the start of the ninth over, in front of a home crowd that had only recently begun repairing its relationship with the team, Sri Lanka were on the verge of embarrassment. Only Thisara Perera and his namesake Kusal were standing between Bangladesh and a long Sri Lankan tail.

Prior to this game, the longest Thisara had spent at the crease during a T20I was 29 balls. In Sri Lanka's loss to India, Thisara had come in to bat alongside a set Kusal Mendis in the 11th over. After a rampaging start, the momentum was with Sri Lanka. Thisara arrived with a bang, swinging two sixes off his first two deliveries faced; he was back in the pavilion four balls later, going for a third.

Thisara's wicket was the start of a collapse that would see Sri Lanka lose six wickets for 40 runs. As stand-in captain, staying until the final few overs when his hitting would have been most effective might have been the more prudent choice.

On Friday night, he showed he had learned his lesson. Registering his longest stay at the crease in a T20I - 37 balls - Thisara also recorded his maiden T20I fifty, going on to score a nearly match-winning 58. The hallmark of the knock, though, was not his boundary hitting - three fours and three sixes - but his rotating of the strike and eagerness to keep risks to a minimum until such a time they were necessary.

"Thisara and I batted a few overs and we recovered really well. I think this wicket was turning a bit and on the slow side. So we knew we had to wait a little bit and rotate the strike. Then Thisara and I spoke a little bit and decided that we would wait for the pace bowlers to come on to attack," explained Kusal, Thisara's partner on the night.

For Kusal too this innings was a coming of age of sorts. Prior to this knock, he had scored two dominant fifties in the tournament. Coming into bat in the uncustomary position of one-drop, those two knocks had come with his team on the attack; playing alongside set batsmen he was able to play his natural game, and dominate. Against Bangladesh, he needed to adapt.

Having come in at No. 3 again, he watched team-mates perish at the other end, one after the other. By the time Thisara had joined him at the crease he had only faced 11 balls and scored as many runs.

However Kusal, like his partner, bided his time and finished on a brisk 61 off 40 balls. Of the eight boundaries in his knock, six came after the 10th over - several timely in helping alleviate the build-up of pressure.

"A lot of the time I'm going to need to come bat in the Powerplay, but after that period I know I need to change my game once the field is pushed back," Kusal said. "I'm very happy that I was able to bat this well in this new position."

In the end, though, it wasn't enough. That was primarily due to Sri Lanka's inability to put together a complete performance in all three disciplines. Kusal,, however, is confident the results, and performances, will come going forward.

"As a team there were a few mistakes that we made in terms of execution," he said. "160 on this wicket is a quite a good total. Some of the decisions we took during the game may be wrong in hindsight. I definitely think there are areas that we can improve in, as bowlers, as batsmen, and as fielders. Only by consistently improving in those areas can we move forward as a team.

"In this series even though we batted well, we need to see what other areas we can improve in for future series. In the end it's difficult to win if we only perform in one department. As a team, we need to be good in all three departments."