The Tigers' win in their historic 100th Test match, clinical Bangladesh performance in the first ODI, Taskin Ahmed’s hat-trick, Mashrafe bin Mortaza's T20I retirement and his perfect farewell are some of the highlights of the tour. After covering Bangladesh’s tour of Sri Lanka, this Dhaka Tribune
correspondent sums up the entire experience.
First Test, Galle
The Tigers began their tour in Galle. The Lankans opted to bat first but the Bangladesh pace trio - Taskin, Subashish Roy and Mustafizur Rahman - bowled beautifully in the morning session. However, the defining moment of the game came when Kusal Mendis got out in his very first delivery only to be reprieved after TV replays showed that Subashish had overstepped. Mendis went on to score 194 runs in the first innings and riding on that, the home side posted 494. In reply, opening batsmen Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar batted beautifully on the second day as Bangladesh made 133/2 at stumps. But below-par batting on the third day saw them get dismissed for 312. Only a gutsy 85 from skipper Mushfiqur Rahim ensured they would avoid the follow on. Sri Lanka declared their second innings on 274/6 and set the Tigers a 457-run target. The openers started brilliantly again and ended day four on 67 without loss. However, the visiting side suffered a batting collapse on day five to give the Lankans a 1-0 lead.
494 in 129.1 overs (Mendis 194, Miraz 4/113) & 274/6d in 69 overs (Tharanga 115, Chandimal 50*) beat Bangladesh
312 in 97.2 overs (Mushfiq 85, Soumya 71) & 197 in 60.2 overs (Soumya 53, Herath 6/59) by 259 runs
Second Test, P Sara Oval
The P Sara Oval Test was historic for Bangladesh as they were contesting their 100th five-dayer. But things got heated up just before the match due to the decision to drop the experienced Mahmudullah. He was initially scheduled to return home but later stayed back in Sri Lanka. Bangladesh players responded well when the game got underway, clinching a memorable four-wicket victory. Shakib scored a magnificent hundred in the first innings as the Tigers managed a crucial 129-run lead. Mustafizur bowled a scintillating spell on day four and it turned out to be extremely vital for the Tigers. Bangladesh were set a challenging 191 on a rank turner, that too on day five. Tamim’s composed 82 though guided the Tigers to a series-levelling win. Bangladesh faced some nervous moments in the middle stages of the tie but held their nerve and snatched victory.
338 in 113.3 overs (Chandimal 138, Miraz 3/90) & 319 in 113.2 overs (Karunaratne 126, Shakib 4/74) lost to Bangladesh
467 in 134.1 overs (Shakib 116, Mosaddek 75) & 191/6 in 57.5 overs (Tamim 82, Sabbir 41) by four wickets
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Bangladesh faced some nervous moments in the middle stages of the tie but held their nerve and snatched victory AFP
First ODI, Dambulla, March 25
The Tigers began their ODI mission in confident mood after their historic Test win. And it showed in their performance as Bangladesh outplayed Sri Lanka with a clinical performance at Rangiri International Stadium. Tamim blasted a beautiful hundred to steer Bangladesh to a commanding 324/5. Commanding stroke-play from Sabbir Rahman and Shakib was a joy to watch, provided you are a Bangladesh fan. The Lankans lost regular wickets while chasing and a late Thisara Perera cameo was not enough for the home side to avoid defeat.
234 in 45.1 overs (Chandimal 59, Mustafizur 3/56) lost to Bangladesh
324/5 (Tamim 127, Shakib 72) by 90 runs
Second ODI, Dambulla, March 28
Bangladesh were looking to wrap up the series in the second and penultimate ODI. The Lankans elected to bat first and started aggressively. Their in-form batsman Mendis smashed his maiden ton to propel Sri Lanka to a challenging 311. Taskin stole the show with a hat-trick in the last over of Sri Lanka's innings. Taskin became the fifth Bangladeshi to achieve the feat. However, inclement weather had the last laugh as persistent rainfall during the innings break forced the umpires to abandon the match.
311 in 49.5 overs (Mendis 102, Taskin 4/47)
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Taskin Ahmed stole the show with a hat-trick in the last over of Sri Lanka's innings AFP
Third ODI, SSC, April 1
The day started off with a prank made by popular daily newspaper The Island. It was claimed, light-heartedly of course, that Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara came out of retirement to play the third and final ODI. Sangakkara was not even in Sri Lanka during that time! Going back to the match, the Tigers Bangladesh opted to field first in the batting paradise that is the SSC ground. The attacking Lankans crafted a good start. Bangladesh bowlers scripted a good comeback and restricted the home side to 280. But the target proved too much for Bangladesh as Sri Lanka’s opening bowling pair Nuwan Kulasekara and Suranga Lakmal accounted for three Bangladesh wickets within four overs. From 11/3, Soumya and Shakib did some rebuilding work but it was not adequate as the Lankans won by 70 runs to level the series 1-1.
210 in 44.3 overs (Shakib 54, Kulasekara 4/37) lost to Sri Lanka
280/9 (Mendis 54, Mashrafe 3/65) by 70 runs
First T20I, R Premadasa, April 4
It was a surprise for everyone when charismatic skipper Mashrafe bin Mortaza announced his retirement form T20Is. Bangladesh won the toss and decided to take first guard. Speedster Lasith Malinga made his mark immediately in the very first over when he shattered the defence of Tamim. Bangladesh batted well initially but could not capitalise on the good start and only managed 98 in their last 15 overs. Chasing 156, Lankan opener Kusal Perera hammered a 77 off 53 and completed a commanding win.
158/4 in 18.5 overs (Kusal 77, Mashrafe 2/32) beat Bangladesh
155/6 (Mosaddek 34*, Mahmudullah 31) by six wickets
Second T20I, R Premadasa, April 6
The Tigers produced a clinical display in all three departments – batting, bowling and fielding - to seal a 45 run win and give their retiring captain Mashrafe the perfect farewell. Bangladesh opted to bat first and cruised towards a big total after a flying start. But Malinga had other ideas as he notched his first hat-trick in T20Is and helped restrict Bangladesh to 176/9. In pursuit of 177, the Lankans lost wickets in clusters. To add to that, Bangladesh exhibited outstanding fielding as the home side were dismissed for 131. A memorable end indeed to Mashrafe's T20I career.
131 in 18 overs (Mustafizur 4/21, Shakib 3/24) lost to Bangladesh
176/9 (Shakib 38, Malinga 3/34) by 45 runs
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Mashrafe bin Mortaza could not have asked for a better farewell AFP
The Bangladesh camp faced some tough times after the heavy Test defeat in Galle and there was drama regarding the exclusion of the veteran Mahmudullah. But the way Bangladesh turned around from that convincing loss was commendable. The senior players responded really well and youngsters like Mosaddek Hossain, Sabbir and Mustafizur played crucial roles at different times. The body language of the players was really praiseworthy and Bangladesh will surely want to continue with this winning mentality in future.
Fielding was exceptional throughout the tour. Earlier in New Zealand, Bangladesh’s ground fielding was poor as around 20 catches were dropped. But Bangladesh played brilliantly as a fielding unit right throughout the Sri Lanka tour. Mushfiq’s sharpness behind the stumps in all three formats was eye-catching. And the rise of Mehedi Hasan Miraz in the limited-over formats was also a good find for Bangladesh.
Batting collapse is one of very few negatives which will worry Bangladesh. In both the innings of the Galle Test, the openers provided a brilliant start but the rest of the batsmen failed to take advantage. Even in the first ODI, Bangladesh suffered a mini collapse. This area should be looked upon in order to achieve better results in future.