Ajantha Mendis and other spinners halted Bangladesh inform batting © AFP
By Abhijit Banare
Mar 6, 2014
Bangladesh managed to post 204 for nine against the miserly Sri Lankan spinners in their last match of the Asia Cup 2014 at Mirpur on Thursday. Sri Lanka, playing with four spinners, strangled the batsmen after a good opening stand of 74 runs between Anamul Haque (49) and Shamsur Rahman (39).
Bangladesh had a lot to look forward to in the dead rubber fighting to end above Afghanistan in the points table. Going by their expertise from the previous match, there was not much to ponder as Mushfiqur Rahim chose to bat first. There were some wholesale changes in the match against Pakistan, but this time around, there were just three. Sri Lankans chose to rest Lasith Malinga and added another spinner, Sachithra Senanayake in their arsenal while a struggling Dinesh Chandimal made way for Ashan Priyanjan.
It was the same wicket on which the hosts had smashed 326, their highest ODI score. But this time around the wicket was not a featherbed to smash around.
In-form opener Anamul started off well along with Shamsur who came in for injured Imrul Kayes. They played some crisp shots through the off-side with Shamsur being the more aggressor of the two. On expected lines, Senanayake came into bowl early. His ability to pitch consistently around the good length helped in keeping the run-flow in check. But they openers were adept at pushing through the gaps for singles. Anamul though survived a caught behind in the 13th over off Lakmal’s bowling. Bruce Oxenford turned down despite a clear edge of Anamul’s bat.
The hosts were cruising along, until Ajantha Mendis spiced things up in his third over. He first foxed Shamsur who was struck on the pads trying to work the ball away and was given leg-before for 39. While the Sri Lankans celebrated the breakthrough, Mendis quickly turned the tables removing Mominul Haque with a wrong one. They fell into further trouble when skipper Mushfiqur was out plumb in front for four off Charutanga de Silva’s bowling.
Though they had the best batsmen, Anamal and Shakib Al Hasan with three down for 87, the spinners had started to tighten the noose.
In Senanayake, Mendis, Charturanga and Ashan Priyanjan, skipper Mathews had a secure 40 overs of spin attack at his disposal. All four of them delivered with Senanayake being the only one not among the wickets. Suranga Lakmal and Thisara Perera just had to contain the batsmen and add up the pressure. Mathews used Mendis carefully in short spells.
Finally it took an acrobatic effort from Lahiru Thirimanne to bring one more breakthrough in the form of Anamul’s wicket. The opener had batted patiently and tried to chip one over mid-wicket. A well-timed jump from Thirimanne saw the ball pop out of his hands which he did well to catch on the second attempt. Anamul scored 49, but had left Bangladesh on the backfoot again
Shakib too didn’t last long out for a soft dismissal off Priyanjan’s bowling, scoring 20. At 119 for five, with the cream of the batting gone, the rest of the batsmen had to do the catching up job. Mahmudullah and Nasir Hossain stitched a steady 55-run stand. Until then, the powerplay overs had passed by and they were past the 40 over mark.
Mahmudullah was eventually bowled by Lakmal for 30. Nasir too was off colour but fought hard for his 30 from 49 balls. The tail-enders managed to drag the team past 200. Thisara Perera picked two wickets in two balls in the last over of the innings.
Bangladesh 204 for 9 in 50 overs (Anamul Haque 49, Shamsur Rahman 39, Mahmudullah 30, Nair Hossain 30; Ashan Priyanjan 2 for 11, Thisara Perera 2 for 29) vs Sri Lanka
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)