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Sri Lanka seal series at Colombo
23 Jul 2007
By: Zac Gelman


Sri Lanka have sealed the three match ODI series in Colombo today with an easy five wicket win, after reducing the Bangladesh batsmen to just 137 earlier in the day.

With the series still on the line for Bangladesh and the hope they could still make up for the comprehensive Test whitewash, they lost the all-important toss and were sent into bat with disastrous consequences as Lasith Malinga proceeded to decimate the top order immediately.

The bowler who set the otherwise dour World Cup alight with his speed, action and flair had Shahriar Nafees gone in only the fourth over with just six runs on the board. Nafees, who top scored for Bangladesh with 33 at Colombo, was not able to build on his previous efforts after nicking the ball to Jayawardene at second slip.

Malinga wasn't about to stop there, as he upped the ante the very next over to remove the remaining opener Tamim Iqbal, ripping through the stumps. Iqbal clean bowled for just three and Bangladesh left reeling at 2-13.

Next man in, Mushfiqur Rahim, didn't last long, just the four ball duck in fact, as Malinga beautifully sent in a short delivery that had Rahim all over the place, eventually outside edging it to the keeper, Sangakkara, who took a great catch, reinforcing himself as a top wicketkeeper in his own right, above his immense batting skills.

With Malinga resting, Maharoof got in on the action to remove the off-stump of Tushar Imran for four. Imran, playing cautiously, left too much room between bat and pad and paid the ultimate price, with his wicket.

A 61 run partnership between Mohammad Ashraful and Aftab Ahmed saved Bangladesh from a few blushes, but it didn't last long when the Sri Lankan veteran of 38 years of age, Sanath Jayasuriya had Ashraful playing the ball straight to the keeper for 39.

Bangladesh had a little bit of luck go their way when Chamara Silva dropped Aftab Ahmed off the bowling of Fernando, having dropped Ashraful earlier in the innings, but it mattered little in the grand scheme of things as the Sri Lankan bowlers steam rolled their way through the Bangladesh batting line-up.

Shakib Al Hasan fell for 15 whilst attempting to sweep Malinga Bandara and Jayasuriya struck again proving himself to have lost none of his skill and talent in his old age. This time it was Aftab Ahmed who had scored a respectable 47 before he mistimed a pull shot straight to the Sri Lankan skipper, Jayawardene, waiting patiently in midwicket region.

Jayasuriya continued to do to Bangladesh's lower order as what Malinga did to the top, destroying it. Razzak and Rasel didn't put up much of a fight as Jayasuriya picked up his 300th ODI wicket and his fourth for the match. An outstanding achievement from the all-rounder helping reduce Bangladesh to a mere 137 all out, in under 47 overs.

Jayasuriya started off the batting where he had left off the bowling, with a bang, a four with the first ball he faced. Tharanga, not to be outdone, smacked three fours in a row as Sri Lanka raced away to 43 before he was caught behind of Shahadat Hossain for 28.

New man in, Kumar Sangakkara was given out by Rudi Koertzen to a suspect decision shortly afterwards, when Bangladesh appealed for a nick to the keeper off Rasel, much to the wicketkeeper-batsman's disappointment.

Bangladesh managed to dig in, with Abdur Razzak dismissing everywhere man Jayasuriya for 24 after when he hit the ball straight to Aftab Ahmed at backward point.

Jayawardene was out the next over after being dropped the previous delivery. Aftab Ahmed took a great catch at midwicket to dismiss the Sri Lankan captain for seven, off the bowling of Syed Rasel who had taken his second and final wicket for the match.

Sri Lanka took the game away from Bangladesh who just didn't have the runs on the board with Dilshan and Silva negotiating the 60 odd runs required with ease as Sri Lanka raced away to a five wicket victory. Silva fell just on the finishing line whilst trying to smack the wining runs but it mattered little as Dilshan cut Razzak for four to take the match and the series 2-0, with the possibility of an ODI whitewash on top of the recent Test routing not so long ago.

The result reinforces Sri Lanka's presence as a force in one-day cricket but will raise many questions in the Bangladesh camp, after claims that they are much more superior in the shorter form of the game than the longer form, a claim they have been unable to back up in Colombo.

The final match of the series, being played for pride more than anything, will take place on Wednesday at the same venue.

Bangladesh 137
Aftab Ahmed 47, Mohammad Ashraful 29
Sanath Jayasuriya 4-31, Lasith Malinga 3-22

Sri Lanka 141/5
Chamara Silva 36, Upul Tharanga 28
Syed Rasel 2-39

Sri Lanka won by 5 wickets

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