Bangladesh/Sri Lanka series wrapManan Shah |
Bangladesh continued their disappointing streak against Sri Lanka, being comprehensively beaten 3-0 in Test matches, all by an innings, and losing 3-0 in the one-dayers as well.
Their horror run began on the first day of the first Test match, as they were bowled out for 89 in their first innings, with Muttiah Muralitharan continuing his domination of Bangladesh with a spell of 5 wickets for 15 runs from 7.3 overs. Sri Lanka then piled on the runs in their first innings with four Sri Lankan batsmen making centuries, including Chaminda Vaas with his maiden ton. Bangladesh did slightly better in the second innings with an opening partnership of 86, but it was nowhere near enough as they were bowled out for 254, losing the match by an innings and 234 runs.
The first inning woes for Bangladesh became even worse in the second test, this time as they were bowled out for 62, with no Bangladeshi batsman leaving single figures except Rajin Saleh and his 62. Again Murali was the destroyer, taking 4 wickets in his 5.2 overs. Sangakarra led the Sri Lankan reply with a fantastic double century – his fifth in Test cricket, as they piled on the runs, making 451. Bangladesh again did well in their second innings, with Mohammad Ashraful making an unbeaten 129, but it was not enough to stave of another defeat by an innings and 90 runs.
The third Test was no better for Bangladesh, as they were again bowled out by Muralitharan (6/28) for 131, with no Bangladeshi batsman scoring higher than 29. Sangakaraa continued to impress as he piled on a second double century of the series and his sixth overall, as Sri Lanka got to 500 before declaring. For the third successive Test, Bangladesh put up a little bit of a fight in the third Test with Nafees scoring a 69, but it still was not enough to save the third successive defeat by an innings.
Kumar Sangakarra led the Sri Lankan batsman with a series average of 428, with two double centuries. He only batted three times in the series, as Sri Lanka batted only once per Test and racked up scores of 6, 200* and 222*. The bowling averages were predictably led by Muralitharan and his series average of 10.28 and 26 wickets. He was not the only Bangladeshi bowler to make hay as Fernando, Vaas, Malinga and Dilshan all ended with an average below 30 with three of them having an average below 20.
On the Bangladesh side, there were no real bright spots with Ashraful the lone man to average over 40 but that was mainly due to his 129*. The rest of his scores were 7, 37, 0, 26 and 19. Unfortunately, no other Bangladesh batsman managed even that as they were comprehensively outclassed in all departments.
The ODI series was expected to be much closer, and with Bangladesh fresh off their World Cup success (where they beat both India and South Africa), an upset was not out of the cards. And although there were a few chances for Bangladesh, they still were defeated 3-0 even without Murali in the side.
Bangladesh bowled well in the first ODI as Sri Lanka were restricted to a respectable 234 runs, but Bangladesh couldn’t finish the run chase as their middle order collapsed to Fernando and they were bowled out in 40 overs for 164. The second ODI was not any closer and the Bangladeshi batsmen continued their horror run as the top four made scores of 3, 6, 4, and 0 as they were all out for 137 and with Sri Lanka chasing the target down in a little over 30 overs, the series was sealed. Bangladesh had a chance for redemption and had the opportunity to end on a high note when they bowled out Sri Lanka for 196 in a 40 over match, but couldn’t chase the target down as only three of their batsmen made double figures and they ended up 157 all out.
The tour overall was a huge disappointment for Bangladesh as they failed to put up even a fight for most of the tour and did not show any improvement after their success in the World Cup. The most notable achievements in the series were personal accomplishments, with Murali reaching 700 wickets and Sangakarra scoring double centuries in successive matches. Sri Lanka are now preparing to face a much harder opponent in their tour to Australia, while Bangladesh have a seven month break from Test cricket.
Cricket Web Man of the Series: Muttiah Muralitharan