Monday, January 4, 2010

Dilshan steers Sri Lanka home

Tillakaratne Dilshan hit a superb century as Sri Lanka coasted to a seven-wicket win over Bangladesh in the opening match of the tri-series in Dhaka.
Bangladesh, invited to bat first, were bolstered by a 75 from former captain Mohammad Ashraful, while useful knocks from Mohammad Mahmudullah (45), Tamim Iqbal (40) and Mushfiqur Rahim (35) helped the home side finish with a decent 260 for seven.

Dilshan, however, made short work of the target, the opening batsman hitting 104 and putting on a century stand for the second wicket with Kumar Sangakkara (74) as the visitors overhauled the target with 5.1 overs to spare.

Openers Imrul Kayes and Iqbal had given Bangladesh a brisk start, although they were more courageous than convincing with their strokeplay.

Kayes gave his side the initial push, but Sri Lanka's bowlers - wayward at the start - tightened their line and stemmed the runs.

Iqbal, who was dropped on 11 by Nuwan Kulasekara off his own bowling, cut loose by clubbing Chanaka Welegedera for four boundaries in an over - three of them coming after he was struck on the helmet by a bouncer from the left-arm paceman.

Kulasekara produced the first breakthrough, luring Kayes into a pull shot which the batsman mistimed and top-edged to Thilan Samaraweera at fine leg.

Dilshan then removed Iqbal in the next over and Suranga Lakmal further undermined Bangladesh's progress by extracting Raqibul Hasan - caught brilliantly by Samaraweera at slip - and captain Shakib Al Hasan in his first spell.

From 65 for no loss the home side had slipped to 74 for four when former captain Ashraful and Rahim came together, the duo arresting the slide with a 58-run stand for the fifth wicket.

Off-spinner Suraj Randiv broke that partnership by trapping Rahim in front as he attempted to sweep, but Ashraful forged a 95-run stand with Mahmudullah which helped lift Bangladesh's score beyond the 200-run mark.

Sri Lanka's openers began their reply with a flurry of boundaries, but Bangladesh secured early success when Rubel Hossain snared Upul Tharanga in the fourth over.

There was no respite, however, as Dilshan and Sangakkara flayed the bowlers around the park.

Debutant Shafiul Islam, who was handed the new ball, leaked 25 runs from his first three overs forcing the Bangladesh skipper to opt for spin inside the first powerplay.

The move helped only briefly and although Bangladesh delayed the bowling powerplay considerably, Dilshan and Sangakkara found the boundaries easily as they closed in on the target.

Both batsmen reached their 50s within a couple of deliveries of each other and had moved onto add 148 for the second wicket when Sangakkara steered a rising delivery from Shafiul straight to wicketkeeper Rahim.

Dilshan, however, continued the chase and, although hampered severely by a thigh injury, went on to raise his sixth ODI century off 119 deliveries.

He fell soon after, but Samaraweera (41 not out) ensured victory.
The teams:

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Ashraful, Raquibul Hassan, Shakib Al Hasan (C), Mushfiqur Rahim (W), Mahmudullah, Naeem Islam, Abdur Razzak, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (C) (W), Chamara Silva, Thilan Samaraweera, Thilina Kandamby, Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, Suraj Randiv, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chanaka Welegedara

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