Kusal Janith 111 as Sri Lanka wins by 91 runs
In an all Malinga charged up farewell to the roar of ‘Mali, Mali’ by a packed to capacity 25,000 crowd and Malinga big screen digitals glistening in big letters, ‘Slinga, Our Pride’, Lasith Malinga signed off in ideal champagne style scything through the Bangladesh top order in a 91-run Sri Lankan win at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium yesterday.
Malinga’s final fling three-wicket burst accounting for the Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal for a duck caught behind to a characteristic Yorker, clean bowling Soumya Sarkar for 15, and the final wicket of Mustafizur Rahman for 18, was an apt bringing down the curtain to a truly golden career on a day that began with the memorable fanfare of an emotional guard of honour accorded by the Sri Lankan team.
The electrified atmosphere of the noisy, riotous home crowd that was right behind their hero responding to Malinga’s personal request to be there was a manifestation of a salute by a nation to the works of an icon as Sri Lanka ran up 314 for 8 wickets in 50 overs on the back of an electrifying century by the mauler Player of the Match Kusal Janith Perera up front.
Perera 99-ball 111 studded with 17 boundaries and a six fittingly set off the sparks in a galvanising drum up to this great send off to his colleague. Having figured in a 97-run second wicket alliance with skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (36) when the latter fell with the total on 107 off 15 overs, he posted 100 runs for the third wicket with Kusal Mendis having brought up his century off 84 balls.
When Perera departed with the total on 207 off 32.4 overs, the lamb aster had set up the ideal inferno for a 350 total. That the rest of the batting could not keep up the tempo once again exposing Sri Lanka’s middle order fragility was a customary feature. After Mendis made a composed 43 off 49 deliveries filled with 4 boundaries, only Angelo Mathews was game to the moment with a swashbuckling 48 off 53 inclusive of 3 boundaries with the nest best off 25 off 30 by Lahiru Thirimanne.
The dismissal of Thisara Perera for 2 off 3 balls marked a continued bad run raising questions as to his justification in the team having also conceded 36 runs in 6 overs when Bangladesh batted.
Bangladesh’s run chase of 312 fell apart to the dual pace attack of Malinga (3/38) and Nuwan Pradeep (3/51) as their reputed batting machinery faltered. Nuwan Pradeep accounted for Mohammad Mithun (10), Mushfiqur Rahim who made 67 (86balls, 5×4), and Shafiul Islam (2). The only semblance of resistance by the visitors was the111-run fifth wicket alliance between Rahim and Sabbir Rahman who made 60 off 56 balls with 7 boundaries as Bangladesh crumbled to 223 off 41.4 overs.
Sri Lanka 314/8 (50 Overs) Run Rate: 6.28
(M.D.K.J. Perera 111, A.D. Mathews 48, B.K.G. Mendis 43, H.D.R.L. Thirimanne 25, Shafiul Islam 3/63, Mustafizur Rahman 2/75).
Bangladesh 223 All out (41.4 Overs) Run Rate: 5.35
(Mushfiqur Rahim 67, Sabbir Rahman 60, S.L. Malinga 3/38, N. Pradeep 3/51, D.M. de Silva 2/49).
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-