Joy at last for Upal Tharanga

For the second time in a week, Sri Lanka hosted Bangladesh in a One Day International in Colombo. On Wednesday, the Sinhalese Sports Club had seen the home side cruise to a comprehensive victory by the margin of 88 runs.

This match, the second of three in the series, was played at the ground named after former President Ranasinghe Premadasa, a venue where chasing large totals is often accompanied by disappointment.

Bangladesh won the toss and as seems customary in these twelve-a-side days, asked the opposition to bat. Upal Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya gave the home side a superb start, putting on 100 inside the first 15 overs before Nazmul Hossain separated the pair, having Jayasuriya caught behind for 40.

Sri Lanka, for the most part, kept up their run-a-ball assault on the Bangladeshi attack with Tapash Baisya coming in for some special treatment, although Tillakaratne Dilshan’s sedate 27 was out of keeping with the rest of the helter-skelter innings.

A whirlwind undefeated 53 by skipper Marvan Atapattu added renewed impetus to the latter stages, but it was Tharanga who was the home hero, moving to his first international century in only his fifth match, an innings that occupied just 104 balls.

After Thatanga departed for 105, stumped off the bowling of Manjural Islam Rana, cameos by Sangakkara and Jayawardene helped Sri Lanka to set a challenging 295 from their 50 overs.

Bangladesh are no pushovers nowadays, so it remained to be seen what sort of a fist they would make in sustaining a challenge in the face of a very testing run-chase.

The Bangladesh openers made heavy weather against the new-ball attack of Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Lokuhettige before Javed Omar found the capable hands of Marvan Atapattu off the bowling of Vaas for just 18.

Shahriar Nafees fought his way through to 51, but all too often batsmen made a start only to perish as soon as they sought to accelerate, more often than not against the off spin of Tillakaratne Dilshan, the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-17 from seven tidy overs.

Mohammad Ashraful made a bright and breezy 31 but by the time ‘Super Sub’ Tushar Imran joined Habibul Bashar at the crease for a final fling, the game was all but lost. The pair added 71 with Bashar ending undefeated on 41, but it was the familiar story of ‘too little, too late’ as the innings closed on 220-6.

Match Summary

Sri Lanka 295-5
Upal Tharanga 105, Marvan Atapattu 53*
Mohammad Rafique 2-47

Bangladesh 220-6
Shahriar Nafees 51
Tillakaratne Dilshan 3-17

Cricket Web Man of the Match
Upal Tharanga (Sri Lanka) 105

Sri Lanka lead the series 2-0

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