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Sri Lanka overcome Bangladesh
20 Jul 2007
By: Zac Ritchie

It took half centuries from Upul Tharanga and Chamara Silva to lift Sri Lanka up to a respectable score at the end of their fifty overs, reaching 234/6 after an excellent opening spells from Mashrafe Mortaza and Syed Rasel. The knocks were contrasting ones, with Tharanga scoring slowly and consolidating at the top of the order while Silva was responsible for picking up the run rate in the latter overs.

There were a few changes from the Test sides, most notably for Sri Lanka as Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas both returned to County Cricket and Sanath Jayasuriya came back into the side after missing the Test series. ODI specialists Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Abdur Razzaq and Farhad Reza returned to the Bangladesh team.

Mohammad Ashraful won the toss and put Sri Lanka into bat in difficult conditions, with the ground having been soaked due to unseasonal showers a couple of days ago.

His decision appeared to be the correct one as both Sri Lankan openers struggled with the movement that the bowlers extracted, unfortunately for the Bangladesh captain his wicket keeper Mushfiqur Rahim let the side down and dropped a simple chance off Upul Tharanga when he dove one handed to his left. Sanath Jayasuriya's return to the side did not go according to plan as he was dismissed on 21 by a superb off cutter by Mashrafe, bowled between bat and pad.

Kumar Sangakarra was offered a reprieve whilst on 2 as Shahriar Nafees failed to hold onto the outside edge. After a couple of superb drives he was eventually squared up by Mashrafe. Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene was also dropped, this time by Abdur Razzaq who grassed a simple caught and bowled opportunity, fortunately for the bowler his drop would not cost the team a great deal as Jayawardene fell soon after to a loose drive off Syed Rasel, the ball lobbing to Saqibul Hasan at short cover.

Meanwhile Upul Tharanga was battling away and he brought up his half century with a sweep shot through square leg although he fell soon after off the medium pace of Farhad Reza as the wicket keeper Mushfiqur made no mistake, his earlier drop having cost the team 57 runs.

Chamara Silva was in fine form and he combined well with Tharanga, batting aggressively and taking on the bowling. He started the counter attack at the end of the innings, after he fell on 65 it was left to on cameos from Dilshan (22), Mubarak (24*) and Maharoof (16*) to lift Sri Lanka up to 235/6, a respectable score given the conditions.

Earlier Mashrafe was easily the pick of the bowlers, getting the ball to repeatedly cut away from the left handed batsmen at the top of the order, his woeful form in the three Tests a thing of the past. Syed Rasel continued to impress with his accuracy, not allowing the batsmen to break free and he picked up two wickets.

The Bangladesh replied started well, with Tamim Iqbal and Shahriar Nafees putting on 45 before Iqbal was caught prodding outside off stump, the edge flying to first slip as Dilhara Fernando claimed his first wicket. A collapse ensued as Bangladesh stumbled from 45 without loss to 76/5. Fernando was rewarded again in the over as Tushar Imran missed a straight delivery and was adjudged lbw.

Saqibul Hasan, arguably the best batsman in the lineup, did not have time to settle before flaying at a wide one and captain Ashraful skied a pull shot and Maharoof pulled off a stunning catch at fine leg. Nafees had anchored the innings until now but was caught at gully of an inside edge as Fernando claimed his third.

Aftab Ahmed had been in good form prior to this series and started out in good fashion, pushing singles and rotating the strike in an attempt to build a partnership with Mushfiqur Rahim. It didn't last long and a swinging delivery from Malinga soon ended Aftab's stay at the crease. Farhad Reza didn't take long to settle and playing some punishing shots, notably two sixes of Jayasuriya's first over, before he was caught by a diving Tharanga at long on attempting a third.

Mashrafe did not last long before he popped a return catch to Malinga Bandara and was joined in the pavilion soon after by Mushfiqur as he top edged a sweep shot off the same bowler. Some lusty hitting at the end by Abdur Razzaq regained some respectability to the score but it was ultimately a blown chance, as Bangladesh had every chance of chasing down the Sri Lankans total.

Dilhara Fernando bowled superbly and was rewarded with figures of 4/26 as good support was given from the economical Farveez Maharoof and deceptive Malinga Bandara.

Sri Lanka 234-6
Chamara Silva 65, Upul Tharanga 57
Mashrafe Mortaza 2-31

Bangladesh 164
Shahriar Nafees 33
Dilhara Fernando 4/26

Sri Lanka won by 70 runs

Cricket Web Man of the Match: Dilhara Fernando

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