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March 15, 2024
Herculean effort needed from Lankans to draw even against dynamic Shanto’s Bangladesh

Sri Lanka Cricket

By Srian Obeyesekere

Sri Lanka faces its biggest challenge in keeping intact its resurgence from the dwindled following back-to-back home series wins against Zimbabwe and Afghanistan in the island nation’s captaincy shake-up instalment of explosive batter Kusal Mendis in today’s must win confrontation against Bangladesh in the second ODI following the bad defeat in the first of the 3-match series when both their batting and bowling was put to the sword by a high riding opposition skipper Hossain Shanto and Mushfiqur Rahim to surmounting a critical phase to that resounding 6-wicket triumph.

Indeed, the mastery of Shanto’s willow works thus exemplified from a telling T20 match winning performance that gave his side the one win in that lost series to Wednesday’s three figure brilliance has swung the contest in a heated build up to the decisive showdown of literally Shanto versus Sri Lanka. Such has been his command in dictating terms further heightened from lowly depths when the Lankans were in a strong winning position of having grabbed 3 wickets for 23.

Therein, his opposite number Kusal Mendis, himself no mean element in the run making business, will ride headlong into a confrontation requiring nothing short of the herculean of leading from the front to outsizing the Bangladeshis in what carries the trimmings of a run-shootout to getting even to winning the series and keeping their recent winning reputation intact.

Of course, the lesson Mendis ad his frontline batsmen would have taken from that defeat is that a 250-plus total is far short of getting the better of the hosts, and that they will have o pullup their socks for a disciplined performance from the patchy let down two days ago against a concerted bowling attack where the top three bowlers claimed three wickets apiece. Primarily faulting was the openers Pathum Nissanka’s and Avishka Fernando’s failures to get going on a sound 71-run ideal start while the onus is on Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka to do their job in the demanding No.4 and 5 positions. It will be interesting whether the Lankan selectors would toy with the idea of giving the gutsy young Kamindu Mendis a go. The toss will be as decisive a factor to gaining the upper hand where the pitch report has it that sensible batting would be the lead to cashing on a sluggish track at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram.

The Lankan bowling department will by and large need to get their act together of going the ultimate distance of bowling out the opposition where Bangladesh exposed the inefficiency of driving home the early breakthrough leverage in that wilting.

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