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Sri lanka win by 5 wickets against Bangladesh in Asia Cup

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Sri Lanka produced a clinical bowling display in their Asia Cup opener, bowling Bangladesh out for 164 with more than seven overs to spare. Leading a depleted Sri Lankan bowling attack was Matheesha Pathirana, who took 4 for 32. Maheesh Theekshana was perhaps even more effective on a two-paced surface but had only two wickets to show for his efforts. One of those, however, was the all-important one of Najmul Hossain Shanto, who made more than 50% (89 off 122) of Bangladesh runs.

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka wasn’t perturbed despite losing the toss and having to bowl first. There was a threat of rain that could bring DLS into the fray. Moreover, the pitch was dry and offered turn and two-paced trickery to keep the bowlers very much in the game.

Knowing all of this, he had Theekshana bowling with the new ball. The off-spinner struck with just his second ball to trap debutant Tanzid Hasan LBW for a duck. Offspinner Dhananjaya de Silva, introduced into the attack in the eighth over, took only two balls more to join the wickets column by dismissing the other opener, Mohammad Naim. The batter stepped out to hit but was beaten in the air and by the drift and ended up slicing a simple catch to backward point.

Pathirana was introduced into the attack only in the 11th over but he too struck with his fourth ball, giving his side the big wicket of Shakib Al Hasan, who underedged an attempted cut shot to the ‘keeper. At 36/3, the Bangladesh innings was in need of a swift revival.

There was revival but it wasn’t swift. Shanto held one end up with risk-free cricket and Towhid Hridoy gave him company in a sedate 59-run partnership for the fourth wicket. But just when the partnership seemed like it had moved past the troubled waters, Shanaka made another bowling change that paid quick dividends. This time, the skipper brought himself on and in just his second over had Hridoy miss an attempted flick and wear a length ball on his pads. Though it appeared as if the batter had crossed the three-metre mark where DRS is no longer applicable, it wasn’t to be and the Sri Lankan captain was vindicated with ‘three reds’ on the screen.

On a slow track, Pathirana then got a pacy delivery to climb on Mushfiqur Rahim and had him caught playing an upper cut straight to third man. Mehidy Hasan Miraz was calamitously run out and Bangladesh’s innings quickly unravelled once Shanto fell to a superb carrom ball from Theekshana. The final six wickets fell for only 37 runs with Pathirana’s change of pace proving too much for Bangladesh’s tail to cope with.

Brief scores: Bangladesh 164 in 42.4 overs (Najmul Hossain Shanto 89; Matheesha Pathirana 4-32, Maheesh Theekshana 2-19) vs Sri Lanka

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