• Wednesday, Apr 08, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:14 am

Tigers eye first blood on Malinga farewell

  • Published at 09:54 pm July 25th, 2019
Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga in action during training in Colombo SLC

With the charge given to opener Tamim Iqbal, anything but a win Friday will suffice for the Tigers

Undoubtedly all eyes will be on legendary pacer Lasith Malinga when Bangladesh take on host Sri Lanka in the first of the three-match ODI series at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo Friday. 

However, the Tigers have been looking for a revival since their below standard result in the World Cup in England and Wales, and they won’t mind spoiling Sri Lanka’s intention of giving Malinga a winning send off in front of the expectedly packed galleries.

And there is also the fact of the budding rivalry between the two sides that is expected to make the game, and also the series, electrifying. 

Bangladesh are missing their stalwarts - Mashrafe bin Mortaza due to injury and Shakib al Hasan, who was rested after playing continuous cricket. 

With the charge given to opener Tamim Iqbal, anything but a win Friday will suffice for the Tigers.

Late inclusion of Shafiul Islam, the third pacer in the squad, shows the management’s concern over the pace attack. 

Bangladesh have been dealing with a biteless pace bowling department since the World Cup.

The occasion is the second for the experienced Shafiul to get included in the ODI side.

However, this time chances are high for him to return to real action, the first time since 2016.

With the bat, besides Tamim, Mohammad Mithun will be under the radar batting at No 3. 

The right-handed batsman has been put in charge to bat in place of Shakib, who has done brilliantly well for Bangladesh recently. 

Mithun has showed glimpses of being in touch, scoring 85 against Afghanistan A before travelling to Colombo and making 91 in the practice game against SL President’s XI.

However, the real test is still pending.

A bit of a concern was raised over opener Soumya Sarkar, who was hit by the ball on his elbow during the practice session Thursday.

But he was all fine to open for Bangladesh in the game when this report was filed.

As far as Sri Lanka are concerned, all eyes will be on Malinga, who will hang up his boots from ODIs following the game. 

The last six completed matches, between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, have been shared with three wins each for the two teams. 

Their last encounter, during the World Cup in England, got washed out thus bringing all the energy to this game.

Sri Lanka have to target taking wickets in the middle overs while the batting order's instability has long been a point of contention. 

On top is all the speculation surrounding the side’s head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, who will allegedly get sacked following the series.

It is all over the major headlines in the island. 

Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne though has played down the issue, including the farewell of Malinga, indicating that the morale in the dressing room is unaffected.