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March 18, 2024
Sri Lanka seek third successive ODI series win in high intense decider

Sri Lanka Cricket

By Srian Obeyesekere

Today’s decisive must win third and final ODI between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh assuming a pre-match high-intensity blockbuster trimmings of bad tempered hostility, the final outcome at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chattogram that will be decided on skill and valour with both sides even with a win, vital to both sides sees Sri Lanka after their third successive series triumph and first in foreign terrain in that turnaround shakeup of new skipper Kusal Mendis in charge in reviving a hitherto flagging image following the dismal crashing out of the 2023 World Cup.

The recent surge of successive home series triumphs against Zimbabwe and Afghanistan from a shaky past is thus an important two-fold thrust to continuity in pastures anew to nailing Bangladesh in their own backyard particularly in that the onus is on Mendis to leading Sri Lanka to its first away overseas triumph. That the boiling point to coming good from the previous two exchanges certainly puts the onus on Sri Lanka’s top order batsmen to make it count in the crunch game following the early peril of 3 for 43 redeemed by the 185 fourth-wicket partnership between Nissanka and Asalanka to finally coming back strongly by six wickets in drawing even having been bled in the opener by Bangladesh in the ease of an 8-wicket gallop.

Therein, the decider is certainly hyped in an even stevens shootout of comparatively equally matching skill in particularly the batting and bowling departments dictating the outcome where the ton up Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka, who fell just 9 runs short of that elusive ton, and the all-round flair of Wanindu Hasaranga who carried the final run charge rubbed in with the four wickets and the cool and calm presence of all-rounder Dunith Wellalage that mattered in the ultimate result has been the driving essence of a well knitted unit. The injury sidelined 2-wicket Dilshan Madushanka who had displayed the flair of putting the opposition on the backfoot early on has been replaced by Maheesh Theekshana.

Bangladesh’s charge to the final outcome will by and large rest on the even-shoulders of their highly skilled batting star cum captain Najmul Hossain Shanto who heads quite an all-round side to whom victory is as important in their quest to breaking free of two recent home series defeats to keeping their ODI image intact. They have made three changes Bangladesh made three changes bringing in Anamul Haque, Rishad Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman in place of Litton Das, Tanzim Hasan Sakib and Taijul Islam. Tanzim is out due to a hamstring injury.

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