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.