Asia Cup 2023: Asalanka, Samarawickrama, Pathirana lead Sri Lanka to five-wicket win over Bangladesh

Calm heads of Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka prevailed as the southpaws curtailed Bangladesh’s fightback with a 78-run partnership for the fourth wicket.  

Published : Aug 31, 2023 22:19 IST , KANDY  - 4 MINS READ

Sri Lanka’s Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka led Sri Lanka’s runchase.
Sri Lanka’s Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka led Sri Lanka’s runchase. | Photo Credit: AP

Sri Lanka’s Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka led Sri Lanka’s runchase. | Photo Credit: AP

The hype around the bourgeoning rivalry failed to live up to its billing as Sri Lanka coasted to a comfortable five-wicket victory against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium here on Friday.  

It didn’t seem like it would be a straightforward chase when Sri Lanka lost both openers inside the first four overs. But the calm heads of Sadeera Samarawickrama (55, 77b, 6x4) and Charith Asalanka (62 n.o., 92b, 5x4, 1x6) prevailed as the southpaws curtailed Bangladesh’s fightback with a 78-run partnership for the fourth wicket.  

The pitch seemed to have eased up for the duo as the pull shots pinged off the willow and the sweep was employed with conviction even though the spinners maintained a stranglehold on the scoring and even added late spice to the contest.  

With 44 needed in 21 overs, a sudden rush of blood got the better of Samarawickrama, who stepped out, was beaten by the turn and stumped off Mahedi Hasan. Ten balls later, Dhananjaya de Silva was bowled, giving Shakib Al Hasan the charge.  

But the task at hand was too easy for a couple of poor shots to throw Sri Lanka into disarray. Asalanka worked his way to an 85-ball fifty and helped amplify the decibel levels of a middling crowd with the solitary six of the match, which brought the equation down to single digits, before sealing the win with a pull to the midwicket boundary.  

Earlier, in the absence of its first-choice pace trio and ace leg-spinner, the Sri Lankan bowling unit stepped into the breach comfortably by bundling Bangladesh out for 164.  

Highlights | BAN vs SL, Asia Cup 2023

Shakib’s decision to bat under rainclouds hovering above wasn’t ideal and a two-paced pitch didn’t help. But contrary to expectations, the spinners wreaked more damage than the pacers with the new ball. 

Bangladesh packed its top four with left-handers and Sri Lanka duly responded, pressing into action off-spinners Maheesh Theekshana and Dhananjaya in the first eight overs.  

The ploy worked like a dream as both had taken a wicket each off their second and fourth deliveries in the match, respectively. Theekshana had debutant Tanzid Hasan leg-before for a duck with one that drifted in and beat his defence, while Dhananjaya made most of Bangladesh’s run-drought in the seventh over as Mohammad Naim, looking for a release in the eighth over, got an outside edge and skied the ball into the hands of point. 

Dasun Shanaka’s rotation of bowlers received another shot in the arm when Matheesha Pathirana struck with his fourth ball of the match, his extra pace resulting in Shakib gloving the ball to wicketkeeper Kusal Mendis, who took a nifty reflex catch.  

To Bangladesh’s credit, with three wickets down for 30-odd inside 11 overs, it didn’t panic. Najmul Hossain Shanto (89, 122b, 7x4) and Towhid Hridoy arrested the slide with a composed 59-run partnership that took the Tigers to the threshold of the 100-run mark by the 24th over.  

Shanto had shown courage by sweeping Theekshana for his first boundary and then pulling Pathirana on a pitch where the ball wasn’t really coming onto the bat. His partner Hridoy tempered his instinct and helped in rebuilding but was undone by captain Shanaka’s in-swinger two balls after Shanto signaled a shift in momentum by cutting the ball late for a boundary to reach his 66-ball half-century.  

All the resolve on display quickly evaporated as Bangladesh lost the following six wickets for 69 runs. Mushfiqur Rahim blocked Pathirana’s yorker-length deliveries three times in a row but was caught at third-man going for an uppercut off a short one. 

Shanto and Mehidy Hasan Miraz were involved in an embarrassing mix-up that left both at the same end. A furious Shanto, headed to the dugout, was stopped by the umpires and the replay showed Mehidy the door instead. 

Also read | Why was Mehidy Hasan Miraz given runout with both batters on same side?

Shanto pulled the next delivery to the boundary but was cleaned up by Theekshana 11 runs short of his second ODI century. Pathirana then varied his pace to wrap up the tail and reduce to Bangladesh to a total that was never going to be enough.  

Sign in to unlock all user benefits
  • Get notified on top games and events
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign up / manage to our newsletters with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early bird access to discounts & offers to our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide to our community guidelines for posting your comment