Something about Bangladesh triggers Sri Lanka into action. So far in the 2015 World Cup, Sri Lanka have failed to completely dominate an innings. At the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday (February 26), they dominated a whole match.
Perhaps that wasn’t surprising, given their 32-4 record against Bangladesh heading into this match. That record was bettered with aplomb, a fine display with both bat and ball helping them to a 92-run victory that also saw them leapfrog Bangladesh in the Pool A table.
The pitch at the MCG had patches of green on it, but was still considered favourable to the batsmen. So it was no surprise that Angelo Mathews opted to bat first, and the decision was justified by his top order. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara hammered centuries, while Lahiru Thirimanne contributed a fifty, as Sri Lanka posted a mammoth 332 for 1.
Bangladesh, visibly deflated, couldn’t front up well enough, and they were eventually bowled out for 240. They failed to put up partnerships big enough to overhaul as big a total, with the 64-run stand between Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim for the sixth wicket their highest.
Things may have been different had Bangladesh been more vigilant in the field. Both Thirimanne and Sangakkara were dropped at various stages, while misfields didn’t help either. In the very first over, Thirimanne, insistent on taking risks throughout his knock, edged Mashrafe Mortaza straight to Anamul Haque at first slip. It was at comfortable height, and an easy enough catch, but was fumbled.
Bangladesh were made to rue their tardiness. Thirimanne, despite a few more close shaves, partnered Dilshan in a 122-run stand for the opening wicket that laid the foundation for the eventually tall total.
Thirimanne’s adventurousness was countered by Dilshan’s early assiduousness. Sri Lanka played with caution initially – Taskin even bowled a maiden – but in the 20th over, Dilshan shifted gears. He took Taskin to the cleaners with timing as crisp as fresh toast. There were drives down the ground and through the covers, and a pull to fine leg as he completed a half-century off 59 balls.
Thirimanne completed his own fifty off 74 balls, but his luck ran out as he guided a short-ball from Rubel Hossain straight to Taskin at third man. In walked Sangakkara playing in his 400th ODI. He didn’t have the backing of form – with just one half-century in his last 10 one-day innings. However, he let his intentions be known early, clattering one through covers to the fence, albeit with the aid of sloppy fielding from Anamul.
The Batting Power Play was called for in the 33rd over, and Sangakkara had some luck going his way at the end of the over, dropped on 23 by Taskin, the bowler failing to hold on in his follow through. Punishment was dished out and Bangladesh were soon attempting to battle away a two-pronged attack. Dilshan and Sangakkara quickly took the score past 200, with Sangakkara notching up a half-century in 45 balls.
In the death overs, it was just carnage. Dilshan completed his century, off 115 balls, his 21st in ODIs. Continued sloppiness in the field didn’t help. Sangakkara was once again dropped, on 60, with Mominul Haque this time the culprit. A massive 122 runs were scored in the last ten overs, as Sri Lanka crossed 300 for the first time in this tournament. Sangakkara notched up his own century –his fastest in ODIs, off 73 balls.
At the very least, Bangladesh needed a solid start, something they could build on later in the innings. Unfortunately, Lasith Malinga would have none of it. A zinger of a delivery – the second of the innings – went through Tamim Iqbal and the stumps lit up. Soumya Sarkar tried to hit out, smashing three fours off Suranga Lakmal in the fourth over. But Mathews had him caught behind. In the very next over, Suranga Lakmal got into the act, inducing an edge off Mominul Haque.
At long last, there was some resistance. Anamul and Mahmudullah put on 43 for the fourth wicket, scrapping runs more than hammering, with prods and singles. However, they tried one hurried single too many. Anamul rushed for a single after Mahmudullah pinged one to midwicket, Rangana Herath effected a direct hit and Anamul (29) was gone. When Mahmudullah (28) then holed out off Thisara Perera, Bangladesh were in dire straits.
When Shakib and Rahim were in the middle, there was some semblance of fight from Bangladesh. Shakib was in a particularly vengeful mood. The two started off diligently, steering clear of risks and claiming the easy singles. They had a few overs to spare, and the first goal was to keep wickets intact.
They carried on in similar vein till 29th over, when Shakib decided it was time to accelerate. First, he came down the wicket to Herath and lofted him down the ground for six. Then, there were consecutive fours, driven through the mid-off and cover region. Rahim then entered the act, lifting Dilshan over long-on for six. However, just when the partnership looked threatening, Sri Lanka got the big wicket, Shakib (46) holing out off Dilshan.
That was more or less it for Bangladesh. Rahim carried on to put together 44 with Sabbir Rahman, but Lakmal broke that stand, clattering Rahim’s stumps with a slower ball. Rahman went on to notch up a half-century, off 60 balls, but Dilshan had Mortaza stumped and Malinga bagged consecutive wickets in the 47th over to bring an end to proceedings.