Matheesha Pathirana Player of the Match 4/34, Charith Asalanka n.o. 62, Sadeera Samarawickrama 54
By Srian Obeyesekere
Twenty-year old Matheesha Pathirana, literally the baby of the side, came to the show with a 4-wicket haul for 34 runs as defending champions Sri Lanka routed Bangladesh by 5 wickets with 66 balls to spare in their opening fixture of the 16th edition of the Asia Cup in home terrain at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium in the Day-Night on Thursday. Opting to take first lease after winning the toss, Bangladesh was bowled out for 164 off 42.4 overs to which the hosts responded with 165 for 5 off 39 in overcoming an early setback of losing the first three wickets for 43 into the 10th over.
Indeed, the 6’2” product from Harispathuwa, Kandy reveled in a scenario Sri Lanka looked beyond its injury lay offed frontline pace bowlers as the right-arm fast man, who made his foray into international cricket on June 2 this year against Afghanistan, rocked into Player of the Match action in 7.4 overs literally on a name built from his IPL exploits for this year’s champions Mumbai Indians. He took command in firing out Bngladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan for 5 caught behind by Kusal Mendis for 5 in a skidding from 1 for 4 and 2 for 25 after 7.4 overs to 36 for 3 just past the halfway mark after 10.4 overs and going on to account for Mushfiqur Rahim 13 caught by Dimuth Karunaratne, Taskin Ahmed for a duck snapped up by Maheesh Theekshana and trapping last man Mustafizur Rahman for a duck.
The Lankan victory thrust was then mounted by one drop Sadeera Samarawickrama who stroked 54 off 77 swishing 6 to the boundary in an admirable recovery innings starring in a fourth and Charith Asalanka at No.5, who struck an unbeaten 62 off 95 paced with 5 boundaries and a six in an 88-run salvaging act off 120 balls after Sri Lanka had rock bottomed to 43 for 3 after 9.2 overs with Dimuth Karunaratne gone for 1 – 1 for 13 (2.1), Pathum Nissanka for 14 – 2 for 15 (3.3) and Kusal Mendis for 5 in a shaky 21-ball groping – 3 for 43 (9.2). Bangladesh claimed two quick wickets in the space of 7 runs seeing the back of the dour Samarawickrama, who braved his way in a praiseworthily remarkable innings, and Dhananjaya de Silva for 2 as the hosts reached 128 for 5 after 31 overs. But Asalanka was joined by skipper Dasun Shanaka 14 off 21 with a boundary in an unfinished 35-run fifth-wicket final fanning out of the Bangladeshis.
Only one drop batsman Najmul Hossain stood up for Bangladesh with 89 off 122 inclusive off 122 balls.
(Bangladesh 164 (42.4 Overs)
(Najmul Hossain Shanto 89, Mohammad Naim 16, Towhid Hridoy 20, Mushtaq Rahim 13, Matheeshana Pathirana 4/32, Maheesh Theekshana 2/19, Dasun Shanaka 1/16, Dunith Wellalage 1/30, Dhananjaya de Silva 1/35)
Sri Lanka 165/5 (39 Overs)
(Charith Asalanka n.o. 62, Sadeera Samarawickrama 54, Pathum Nissanka 14, Dasun Shanaka n.o. 14, Shakib Al Hasan 2/29, Shoriful Islam 1/23, Taskin Ahed 1/34, Mahedi Hasan 1/35)