Avishka Fernando flayed the Bangladesh bowlers in an exhibition of boundary hitting 82 as the young brigade combined with the old in seasoned campaigner Angelo Mathews who made 52 in Sri Lanka’s comprehensive 7-wicket triumph for a 2-nil series triumph, breaking a three year and 8 month long barren run at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium yesterday.
Player of the Match Fernando, who opened the batting with Dimuth Karunaratne, smote 9 boundaries and 2 sixes in his 75-ball cameo as Sri Lanka raced to 50 off 36 balls with his contribution 34 after the Sri Lankan bowlers had pegged down the visitors to 238 for 8 wickets off 50 overs. The hosts finished on 242 for 3 off 44.4 overs.
Mathews, joining Kusal Mendis with the total on 146 for 3 in the fifth ball of the 25th over, lost no time in hastening Sri Lanka to the series clinching triumph. Their unbroken 96-run fourth wicket alliance was a spot on champagne moment for the Sri Lankans as the cup overflowed in a continuation of the winning flow that the hosts had scripted by that rousing farewell win to the retiring Lasith Malinga two days ago at the same venue. Mathews struck 7 crisp boundaries in his 57-ball knock in the wake of his 48 in the first encounter in an ideal blending of experience and youth with Mendis on the other end putting the icing on the cake by his blitzkrieg. Upfront Kusal Janith Perera weighed in with 30 off 34 with 3 boundaries followed by Kusal Mendis’ 41 off 74 with 4 boundaries.
Bangladesh were all at sea as their decision to bat first on winning the toss did not pay off caving into the pace-spin home attack of Akila Dananjaya (2/39), Nuwan Pradeep (2/53) and Isuru Udana (2/58). The visitors collapsed to 6 for 117 before recovering to 201 for 7 on a seventh wicket partnership of 84 runs between Mushfiqur Rahim who made an unbeaten 98 off 110 balls inclusive of 6 hits to the ropes and a six and Mehidy Hasan who made 43 off 49 containing 6 boundaries.
Akila Dananjaya, coming back after being left out of the world cup team, kept a tight length of floated accuracy making one wonder how the selectors wrote him off for the world cup on the basis that he had lost his rhythm.
Sri Lanka omitted Thisara Perera for Dananjaya.
Bangladesh 238/8 (50 Overs) Run Rate: 4.76
(M. Rahim 98 n.o., M.Hasan Miraz 43, A. Dananjaya 2/39, N. Pradeep 2/53, I. Udana 2/58)
Sri Lanka 242/3 (44.4 Overs) Run Rate: 5.41
(W.I.A. Fernando 82, A Mathews 52*, B.K.G. Mendis 41*, M.D.K.J. Perera 30, F.D.M. Karunaratne 15, M. Rahim 2/50)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-