Sri Lanka’s take off to a new ODI odyssey that crash landed by two straight defeats to Bangladesh, did orbit to a maiden 97-run success in the final contest on Friday ideally fronted by torchbearer of that new mantle, Kusal Janith Perera typically firing from the hip a near run a ball 120 in the literally cowboy version of instant cricket that illuminated the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on Friday.
Bringing to play sheer characteristic aggressive stroke-play, his 122-ball knock decorated by 11 boundaries and a six did mark the payoff arrival from the gloom of an already conceded series, of a deliverer. It signified a worthy deliverer ready to carry the torch from there in thr rigors of the thick and thin. His effort significantly culminated in a tall score of 286 for 6 off 50 overs to which Dhananjaya de Silva brought his full measure to play with an unbeaten 55 off 70 balls with just the 4 boundaries but rotating the strike.
It was the solid carpet for strike bowler Dushmantha Chameera to tear apart Bangladesh with figures of 5 for 16 in scuttling out the host team for 189 in 42.3 overs. His three early strikes were Mohammad Naim off his very first delivery for 1 caught by Kusal Mendis for 1, Shakib Al Hasan caught by Ramesh Mendis for 4 and Tamim Iqbal caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella for 17 in that order. It also capped a wicket in his first over of all three ODIs. With youth find Ramesh Mendis proving to be a lending atom in getting rid of Bangladesh’s master batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, the Player of the Match thorn to the Lankans in the two previous games when he had him well held by Dhananjaya de Silva for 28 and Mosaddek Hossain caught by Binura Fernando for 51, the triumph did hark of a future in the making of the new look cast in the job with a leader in Kusal Janith Perera who did rise in stature from a bad start portraying the traits of a captain with the trimmings to weather pressure.
Into the final contest, the frontline Lankan batting, with the exception of Pathum Nissanka who fell for a duck, did up their game in the run thrust with Danushka Gunathilaka coming good with a 33-ball 39 hammering 5 fours and a six fronting 82 with his skipper off 11.2 overs. That the skipper persisted with Nissanka despite two previous failures was an apparent indication as to persevering with the youngster who came to the forefront with a test century, to plugging the pivotal No.3 slot in the long term After Nissanka had departed with no addition to the total, Kusal Mendis, did imbibe credence to the cause at long last in adding 69 runs for the third wicket with Perera off 84 balls in taking the score to 151. He made 22 off 36 inclusive of a six. It was the perfect foundation for the Kusal Janith Perera-Dhananjaya de Silva fourth wicket flourish of 65 off 84 as Sri Lanka reached 216 by the 40th over when the Lankan skipper’s marathon effort ended caught by Mahmudullah off Shoriful Islam. Niroshan Dickwella made 7 off 9 before being run out – 5 for 231 off 42.3. The Dhananjaya de Silva-Wanindu Hasaranga sixth wicket alliance of 35 runs off 24 swelled it to 266 into the second delivery of the 49th over when Hasaranga went for 18 caught Mehidy Hasan off Hasan Miraz from where Ramesh Mendis chipped in with an unbeaten 8 off 6 clouting a six in adding 20 in the unfinished seventh wicket stand with de Silva.
That the Lankan skipper was piped to the Player of the Match award by his fast bowling teammate Chameera in the biff bang version of the game that usually a cameo ton as Perera’s is ammunition for the rich reward, was for the sheer decimating returns with the ball reaped by his charge.
SRI LANKA 286/6 (50 Overs) RR: 5.72
(Kusal Janith Perera 120, Dhananjaya de Silca n.o. 55, Danushka Gunathilaka 39, Kusal Mndis 22, Wanindu Hasaranga 18, Ramesh Mendis n.o. 8, Taskin Ahmed 4/46)
BANGLADESH 189 (42.3 Overs) RR: 4.44
(Dushmantha Chameera 5/16, Ramesh Mendis 2/40, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/47)
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-