Birthday boy Dasun Shanaka was also the man with the golden arm as the Sri Lanka skipper picked three wickets to help his side defend 257 against Bangladesh in a Super Four match of the Asia Cup here at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.
The host’s 21-run win extended its winning run in ODIs to 13 games, second only to Australia’s 21-match streak in 2003, and virtually eliminated Bangladesh.
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Shanaka made early incisions by getting the better of the Bangladesh openers with the short ball. When Mushfiqur Rahim and Towhid Hridoy (82, 97b, 7x4, 1x6) looked poised to make a match of it with a resolute 72-run stand for the fifth wicket, his slower ball sent Rahim back and snapped the crowd out of slumber.
With the tail exposed, Hridoy upped the ante but was trapped in front by Maheesh Theekshana’s carrom ball before Matheesha Pathirana’s slinging yorkers ended Bangladesh’s challenge in the 49th over.
Earlier, Sri Lanka wouldn’t have reached 256 for nine had it not been for Sadeera Samarawickrama’s career-best 72-ball 93.
The 28-year-old accelerated seamlessly after reaching his 45-ball half-century. His delicate six in the last over off Taskin Ahmed, a carving motion over point, epitomised his ability to keep the scoreboard ticking at a brisk pace with little belligerence.
Kusal Mendis (50, 73b, 6x4, 1x6) flirted with danger. He was dropped at deep square-leg when he pulled Shoriful Islam for his first six. Soon after reaching his fifty off 69 balls with a pulled four, he was caught trying to ramp a bouncer from Islam.
His injection of intent, however, was the need of the hour after Shakib Al Hasan and Nasum Ahmed put a stranglehold on the scoring rate. They built on the platform laid by Taskin and Hasan Mahmud, who got the new ball to talk, but their efforts were decisively overshadowed by Samarawickrama’s knock.
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