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Tharanga (105) powers Sri Lanka to victory
Gopal Sharma
Tribune News Service


Sri Lanka’s Marvan Atapattu plays a shot during the Champions Trophy qualifying match against Bangladesh at the PCA Stadium in Mohali
Sri Lanka’s Marvan Atapattu plays a shot during the Champions Trophy qualifying match against Bangladesh at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Saturday. — Reuters photo

Mohali, October 7
It was tipped to be a contest among unequals as the inaugural match of the Champions Trophy against Bangladesh was expected to be a cakewalk for Sri Lanka. But the script did not unfold along the expected lines. Though Sri Lanka were able to emerge winners, Bangladesh proved valiant opponents and made the former World Cup winners work hard for victory.

Batting first, the Sri Lankans posted a healthy 302 for 8 on the board. Bangladesh put up a brave fight but fell short of the target by just 37 runs, finishing at 265 for 9 in their allotted quota of 50 overs.

Though they lost the match, the Bangladesh team returned to the pavilion with a lot of pride. This total was their highest against Sri Lanka, their earlier best being 231 for 9 at Chittagong in February this year. Had it not been for some impressive bowling from Sri Lankan fast bowlers, who made the rivals struggle with their pace and control, the story could have been different.

Lasith Malinga generated impressive pace and repeatedly recorded around 145 kmph, while other seamer Dihara Fernando was no less hostile. Ace off-spinner Muthiah Muralitharan, however, failed to pose much problems to the batsmen and by the end of the contest had a lone wicket in his kitty.

In batting, opener Upul Tharanga emerged the saviour for the Sri Lankans. Playing true to his reputation as an emerging young batting talent, the left-handed batsman notched up 105, his fifth century in 30th ODI. Sanath Jayasuriya looked good as both the openers provided Lanka a decent start before the veteran opening batsman fell lbw to left handed Syed Rasel. He made 31.

The later-order batsmen failed to capitalise on the start and looked in a hurry. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Marvan Atapattu were in control, but lost their wickets to impetuosity. Jayawardene made 35, while Atapattu, back in the squad after injury, contributed 40. Both fell to reckless strokes. Tharanga, however, was impressive throughout and played strokes all round the wicket as Sri Lanka posted 302 on the board.

Bangladesh seamers lacked penetration and were generous in giving away runs. Left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique was the best bowler on view, while Abdur Razzak, another left-armer, put the flow of runs under check and claimed valuable wickets.

Chasing this total, Bangladesh made a sedate start as the first 10 overs yielded 28 runs. But after the fall of the first wicket of Nafees, Aftab Ahmed took up the cudgels and played some glorious strokes. He was hit below his left eye be an express delivery from Fernando. Unnerved, the batsman came out blazing in the next over of Fernando as the bowler went for 16 runs. But the bravado could not last long and Aftab was back in the pavilion after scoring 33.

After that, Farhad Reza played a similar 34-run cameo which kept the Sri Lankans on tenterhooks. After his departure, Bangladesh batsmen just did not give in.

Middle-order batsman Saqibul Hasan completed a valiant half century. This was his maiden fifty and the batsman remined undefeated on 67. Tailenders Mortaza and Razzak kept the scoreboard ticking with a mix of bold strokes and quick running between the wickets.

Though they were never in sight of victory, Bangladesh proved that they have the batting talent. What they need perhaps is fire in their seam attack.

Scoreboard

Sri Lanka

Tharanga b Mortaza 105

Jayasuriya lbw Rasel 31

Jayawardene c Ahmed b Razzak 35

Sangakkara c Mortaza b Rafique 22

Atapattu c Reza b Rasel 40

Dilshan not out 26

Maharoof run out 0

Vaas c Reza b Razzak 4

Muralitharan run out 11

Malinga not out 7

Extras (b-1, lb-4, w-16) 21

Total (8 wkts, 50 overs) 302

Fall of wickets: 1-67, 2-130, 3-193, 4-244, 5-260, 6-262, 7-273, 8-295.

Bowling: Mortaza 10-0-60-1, Rasel 10-0-65-2, Reza 8-0-63-0, Razzak 10-0-49-2, Rafique 10-0-37-1, Hasan 2-0-23-0.

Bangladesh

Nafees c Sangakkara b Vaas 5

Ashraful c Sangakkara b Fernando 18

Ahmed c Sangakkara b Maharoof 33

Saqibul not out 67

Bashar c Jayawardene b Maharoof 0

Reza st Sangakkara b Muralitharan 34

Mashud run out 8

Rafique c Vaas b Jayasuriya 12

Mortaza b Vaas 30

Razzak b Maharoof 21

Rasel not out 1

Extras (b-4, lb-3, w-21, nb-8) 36 Total (9 wkts, 50 overs) 265

Fall of wickets:1-22, 2-55, 3-78, 4-78, 5-141, 6-155, 7-177, 8-226, 9-264.

Bowling: Vaas 10-2-46-2, Malinga 10-1-35-0, Fernando 5-0-39-1, Maharoof 7-0-47-3, Muralitharan 10-0-45-1, Jayasuriya 8-0-46-1.

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