Convincing Win for Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh in Asia Cup Encounter at Pallekele

Madushka Balasuriya, in ESPNcricinfo, 31 August 2023 ,where the title of this review reads  “Pathirana, Asalanka lead Sri Lanka to vital opening win” 

Fifties from Charith Asalanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama saw home a nervy chase in sluggish conditions, as Sri Lanka kicked off their Asia Cup campaign with an ultimately convincing five-wicket win over Bangladesh. The result means Sri Lanka have one foot in the Super 4 stage, while Bangladesh face a must-win tie against Afghanistan.

Charith Asalanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama revived the chase after the loss of three early wickets Getty Images

Asalanka, who had come into this game in a lean stretch of form, ended unbeaten on 62 off 92 deliveries, just the kind of gritty knock that was needed on a two-paced Pallekele surface and against a Bangladesh bowling outfit that gave little away.
Set a target of just 165, Sri Lanka were in a spot of bother at 43 for 3 when Asalanka joined Samarawickrama in the middle. Before that Dimuth Karanuratne had played all over a full in-ducker from Taskin Ahmed, while Kusal Mendis had been castled a Shakib Al Hasan arm ball. In between Pathum Nissanka had slashed and nicked a short, wide one from Shoriful Islam.
Early wickets are crucial when defending a low total, and Bangladesh certainly felt they were in the game at that point, but in Samarawickrama, Sri Lanka had precisely the man they wanted in such a situation.
Batting at No. 4, Samarawickrama took it upon himself to keep the scoreboard ticking. Back-to-back boundaries against Taskin, including a sumptuous cover drive, showed his intent, but the loss of wickets forced him to play more of an accumulator’s role.
Once Asalanka joined him, the pair was initially content to nudge around for singles and play out dot balls when necessary, with the scoreboard pressure non-existent. Still, if there was any pressure building up, Samarawickrama released it with a couple of fours off Shakib in the 19th over.
The two grafted together 78 before Samarawickrama fell, stumped off Mahedi Hasan, though by this point the chase was well in hand. Dhananjaya de Silva had his stumps disturbed by Shakib a short while after to keep give rise to a few more Sri Lankan nerves, but Dasun Shanaka joined Asalanka at the crease to see home the chase.
It was a result where Bangladesh would wonder what could have been, especially seeing as they had failed to bat out the full 50 overs. Only Najmul Hossain Shanto with his valiant 89 showed any resistance against Sri Lanka’s bowlers, who had the rest of the Bangladesh line-up in a stranglehold and bowled them out for 164.
Matheesha Pathirana capped his Asia Cup debut with career-best figures of 4 for 32, while the always-excellent Maheesh Theekshana picked up a couple. But it was the pair of Dhananjaya and Dunith Wellalage that provided the platform for Sri Lanka’s strike bowlers to thrive, as the right-arm- and left-arm-spin combo rifled through the middle overs, never allowing the batters to score freely, and most importantly allowing skipper Shanaka to hold back on the reintroduction of both Theekshana and Pathirana.
This was crucial, as in the absence of the injured Wanindu Hasaranga, Sri Lanka were one strike bowler short. But on this difficult surface, Sri Lanka’s bowlers stuck to good lines and lengths and never really allowed the Bangladesh batters to get on top for any significant length of time.
After Theekshana and Dhananjaya had removed openers Tanzid Hasan and Mohammed Naim cheaply, Shakib gloved Pathirana behind in the 11th over to leave Bangladesh reeling at 36 for 3.
It was at this point that Bangladesh finally looked to get a foot in the game, with Shanto and Towhid Hridoy putting on a stand of 59, but the pressure that was built up in the middle overs began to tell. Shanaka brought himself on and had an advancing Hridoy lbw, via DRS.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Shanto then added 32 for the fifth wicket, but the former fell foul of a textbook ploy – a couple of full deliveries followed by a short one – to hole out to deep third.
Once Mushfiqur departed, not a single other Bangladeshi batter was able to keep Shanto company for long as Pathirana and Theekshana ran through the lower order. Apart from Shanto, only Hridoy managed to reach 20, while only two other batters reached double digits.
Rex Clementine’s Report  …..  in The Island …………….. 



There were doubts about how Sri Lanka’s depleted bowling attack will go about things in the Asia Cup, but the backup bowlers came up with a splendid performance in their opening encounter yesterday at Pallekele helping Sri Lanka to a seven wicket win over Bangladesh.

Hometown boy Matheesha Pathirana was sensational finishing with four wickets providing early breakthroughs and then coming back for a last spell to destroy the tail as Bangladesh were bowled out for 164 runs with five overs to spare.

Sadeera Samarawickrama then smashed a half-century to help Sri Lanka to a comfortable win with 11 overs to spare. He was joined by Charith Asalanka, who posted an unbeaten 62.

Sri Lanka lost the top three wickets for 43 runs but Sadeera along with Asalanka added 78 runs for the fourth wicket to see Sri Lanka through without any alarms.

It was Sadeera’s fourth half-century in ODIs. He was stumped for 54 but by that stage, the job was nearly done. Asalanka completed his ninth ODI fifty.

Pathirana claimed the big wicket of Shakib-al-Hasan, who was well caught by Kusal Mendis for five. He then had the dangerman Mushfiqur Rahim for 13 in his second spell. The former captain cut one uppishly, but the pace was too much and was caught at third man boundary.

The tail had no clue when Pathirana came for one last spell with both Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman falling for ducks.

Shanaka held back Pathirana without going on the attack all out and perhaps had he used him earlier, Bangladesh would have folded early.

Things would have looked even worse for Bangladesh had Sri Lanka held on to their chances.

Matheesha was well backed up by Maheesh Theekshana, who picked up a wicket in his first over and ended with two for 19.

Opposition batters had no clue against Theekshana unable to pick his variations. Even the set Najmul Shanto, who top scored with 89 never looked comfortable against him and was eventually cleaned up triggering a sensational lower order collapse.

Shanto had been dropped on two by skipper Dasun Shanaka off the unlucky Kasun Rajitha, who bowled so well but failed to pick up a wicket. He was also lucky to survive on 64 as the umpire turned down a caught behind appeal off Pathirana. Sri Lanka had exhausted their reviews.

Sri Lanka’s fielding apart from the odd flaw looked sharp and a lot of effort seemed to have gone into this aspect, an area that has been pretty ordinary in the recent past.


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One response to “Convincing Win for Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh in Asia Cup Encounter at Pallekele

  1. dickie bird

    Its time to show Kusal Mendis the exit and way to the Court to face penal charges.
    A flash in the pan batsman hyped by the youtube bloggers and the media.

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