SL vs BAN: Avishka Fernando leads Sri Lanka to comfortable win

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka shined in their first ODI series post the World Cup 2019 as the island nation secured an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match series against Bangladesh. It took a long time to come as Sri Lanka had last celebrated a home series win in November 2015. Opener Avishka Fernando was named player of the match for his sterling knock of 82 from 75 balls.

Sri Lankan bowlers spark a collapse

Opting to bat first at the R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Bangladeshi openers struggled to get going. Early on, Nuwan Pradeep bowled a searing yorker which toppled Tamim Iqbal but the batsman had managed to get some bat on it. Four overs later, he trapped Soumya Sarkar in front of the stumps. Iqbal followed him and Bangladesh were reduced to 31/2. Returning spinner, Akila Dananjaya, struck in his first over and soon the middle-order fell away. At 117/6 in 31.5 overs, the visitors were in danger of being bowled out before playing out their overs.

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Mushfiqur stands tall

Mushfiqur Rahim and Mehidy Hasan started the rebuilding job. The duo added 84 runs for the seventh wicket with Mehidy scoring 43 of them. After his fall, Mushfiqur took over the scoring mantle. The little batsman was particularly severe on Isuru Udana, whom he smashed for 14 runs in the penultimate over. Mushfiqur missed out on a well-deserved ton by just two runs but his 98 not out helped Bangladesh post a competitive total.

Avishka steals the show

To make a match of this, Bangladeshi bowlers needed to strike early and peg Sri Lanka down. However, opener Avishka Fernando was in no mood to let the bowlers dictate the terms. After a quiet start, Fernando smashed Shafiul Islam for three consecutive fours. The 21-year old next brought up his fifty in just 43 balls and kept the attacking intent alive. Mustafizur snared Fernando with a short ball but his 82 from 75 balls had brought Sri Lanka within 106 runs of the target.

Mendis and Mathews grab the series

Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews put their heads down in the chase of 239 runs after Kusal Perera’s fall. The duo stitched an unbeaten partnership of 96 runs to take the team home. With the scores level, Mathews struck a boundary to complete his fifty and clinch the series. Sri Lanka ended up winning by seven wickets with 32 balls remaining. These two teams will play out the third and last ODI of the tour on 31st July at the same venue.