Pallekele, Aug 31 (PTI) Najmul Shanto’s resilient fifty notwithstanding, Sri Lankan bowlers produced a fine bowling effort to restrict Bangladesh to 164 in their Asia Cup 2023 opener here on Thursday.
Shanto made 89 off 122 balls but hardly received consistent support from the other end as pacer Matheesha Pathirana (4/32) and spinner Maheesh Theekshana (2/19) combined to strike at regular intervals after Bangladesh opted to bat first.
The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium pitch had a bit of carry and bounce in it, and Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka brought Theekshana into the attack in the second over itself.
Theekshana, the highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka in ODIs this year, fetched immediate results as he trapped Tanzid Hasan plumb in front with a lovely delivery.
The ball pitched around the leg-stump and spun across to hit Hasan’s back pad and the Bangladesh opener had to walk back with a duck on his debut.
Pathirana soon jettisoned skipper Shakib Al Hasan. The left-hander could not negotiate the extra pace of Pathirana, and the ball nestled in the hands of stumper Kusal Mendis.
Bangladesh were 36 for 3 at this stage and they needed a couple of partnerships to steady things in the middle.
The fourth wicket alliance between Shanto and Towhid Hridoy (20) saw Bangladesh adding 59 runs in nearly 14 overs.
Shanto guided the young man well as Bangladesh showed signs of recovery. However, Lanka captain Shanaka ended the blooming alliance while winning a leg-before appeal against Hridoy.
Pathirana returned to end the stay of veteran Mushfiqur Rahim, whose attempted upper cut was snaffled by Chamika Karunaratne near third man.
With the cream of their batting returned to the pavilion, Shanto was Bangladesh’s remaining hope to reach a competitive total.
The left-hander batted with caution without sacrificing chances to find boundaries.
His on-drive off pacer Kasun Rajitha was a fine piece of timing. However, Theekshana ended Shanto’s tenure at the crease.
The Lankan spinner’s skidder beat the forward prod of Shanto to rearrange his timber, and with that Bangladesh’s last hopes of going past at least the 200-run mark also ended.
Source: PTI News