Sri Lanka trumps Bangladesh after Dilshan, Sangakkara tons
Ahmedabad/Melbourne: Sri Lanka brought its full range of experience into play, with a dominant display against Bangladesh at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
A fine display with both bat and ball helped Sri Lanka to a 92-run victory that also saw it leapfrog Bangladesh in the Pool A table of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. 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 couldn’t front up well enough, and it was eventually bowled out for 240. It 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 its highest. Things may have been different had Bangladesh taken all its chances in the field. Both Thirimanne and Sangakkara were dropped at various stages. In the very first over, Thirimanne edged Mashrafe Mortaza straight to Anamul Haque at first slip, but the straight catch was fumbled. Thirimanne partnered Dilshan in a 122-run stand for the opening wicket that laid the foundation for the eventually tall total.
Bangladesh needed a solid start, something it could build on later in the innings. Unfortunately for the side, 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.
There was some resistance when Anamul and Mahmudullah put on 43 for the fourth wicket, scrapping 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 was in dire straits. When Shakib and Rahim were in the middle, there was a chance of a fightback though. 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. 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.