SRI LANKAN captain Charith Asalanka plays a lofted shot during the first T20 International against Bangladesh at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Monday.—AFP
SRI LANKAN captain Charith Asalanka plays a lofted shot during the first T20 International against Bangladesh at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Monday.—AFP

SYLHET: Dasun Shanaka held his nerve under pressure to take two wickets in the final over, snatching a dramatic three-run win for Sri Lanka in the opening Twenty20 International of a three-match series against Bangladesh in Sylhet on Monday.

Set a target of 207 runs, lower middle-order batsman Jaker Ali took Bangladesh close with his maiden fifty before Shanaka ended his 34-ball innings of 68 with the third ball of the last over.

Shoriful Islam hit a four from the next ball, leaving Bangladesh requiring six from their last two balls.

But the hosts could manage only two runs to be restricted to 203-8, with Shanaka, who also dismissed Rishad Hossain in the first ball of the final over, finishing with 2-36.

Former skipper Angelo Mathews claimed 2-17 to inflict some early damage on the Bangladesh innings before veteran Mahmudullah Riyad struck 54 off 31 balls to revive the hopes of the home side.

Sadeera Samarawickrama and Kusal Mendis earlier slammed a fifty each to guide Sri Lanka to 206-3 after Bangladesh sent them in.

Samarawickrama struck an unbeaten 61 off 48 balls after Mendis hit 59 off 36 balls as the visitors overcame a slow start to put up an imposing total.

Stand-in skipper Charith Asalanka played his part with an unbeaten 44 from 21 balls.

Mendis and Samarawickrama shared 96 runs for the third wicket after Sri Lanka lost their first two wickets for 37 runs.

Shoriful removed Avishka Fernando for four with the second ball of the innings before Taskin Ahmed had Kamindu Mendis caught by Soumya Sarkar at midwicket for 19.

Mendis hit leg-spinner Rishad for a four and two sixes off consecutive balls to race to his fifty off 27 balls.

Rishad returned for his next spell to exact revenge as Mahmudullah took a well-judged catch at long off boundary to end the innings of Mendis.

Asalanka joined Samarawickrama to continue the assault, adding 73 for the unbroken fourth wicket, including 24 runs from the last over of the innings bowled by Mustafizur Rahman.

The series marks the start of Sri Lanka’s month-long tour of Bangladesh, which also includes three One-day Internationals and two Tests.

SCOREBOARD

SRI LANKA:

A. Fernando c Liton b Shoriful 4

K. Mendis c Mahmudullah b Rishad 59

K. Mendis c Soumya b Taskin 19

S. Samarawickrama not out 61

C. Asalanka not out 44

EXTRAS (B-1, LB-6, NB-1, W-11) 19

TOTAL (for three wickets, 20 overs) 206

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-4 (Fernando), 2-37 (K. Mendis), 3-133 (KM. Mendis)

DID NOT BAT: A. Mathews, D. Shanaka, M. Theekshana, A. Dananjaya, B. Fernando, M. Pathirana

BOWLING: Shoriful 4-0-47-1 (1w), Taskin 4-0-40-1 (1w), Mahedi 3-0-30-0 (2w), Mustafizur 4-0-42-0 (2w, 1nb), Rishad 4-0-32-1, Soumya 1-0-8-0

BANGLADESH:

Liton Das c K. Mendis b Mathews 0

Soumya Sarkar c Asalanka b B. Fernando 12

Najmul Hossain c Mathews b Pathirana 20

Towhid Hridoy c K. Mendis b Mathews 8

Mahmudullah c A. Fernando b Theekshana 54

Jaker Ali c Asalanka b Shanaka 68

Mahedi Hasan c Mathews b B. Fernando 16

Rishad Hossain c Asalanka b Shanaka 0

Taskin Ahmed not out 2

Shoriful Islam not out 4

EXTRAS (LB-2, NB-3, W-14) 19

TOTAL (for eight wickets, 20 overs) 203

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-0 (Liton), 2-21 (Soumya), 3-30 (Towhid), 4-68 (Najmul), 5-115 (Mahmudullah) 6-180 (Mahedi), 7-195 (Rishad), 8-197 (Jakir)

DID NOT BAT: Mustafizur Rahman

BOWLING: Mathews 3-0-17-2 (1w), B. Fernando 4-0-41-2 (1w), Theekshana 4-0-32-1, Shanaka 3-0-36-2 (1w), Dananjaya 2-0-19-0 (1w), Pathirana 4-0-56-1 (9w, 3nb)

RESULT: Sri Lanka won by three runs.

PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Charith Asalanka

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2024

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