Tamim, Mushfiqur, Shakib lift Bangladesh to 320
Bangladesh's three seniormost batsmen caitalised on ideal conditions to put on a clinic and lift their team to 320 for 7 in 50 overs against Sri Lanka. However, Sri Lanka pulled things back slightly towards the end, Thisara Perera's 49th over particularly impressive, controlling the scoring rate for the better part of the last five overs.
That, however, was only after Tamim Iqbal laid the foundation for Bangladesh's dominance with his 84, ably complemented by Shakib Al Hasan, who blitzed a stroke-filled, aggressive 67. Mushfiqur Rahim continued the duo's good work with a fifty of his own that took Bangladesh closer to the 300 mark, which had always looked imminent, and Sabbir Rahman and Mahmudullah capped it off with cameos towards the end.
Tamim and Anamul Haque got Bangladesh off to a rollicking start, putting on 71 for the first wicket in quick time. But Anamul must have felt this was another missed opportunity. On a flat pitch, and after having been handed multiple reprieves, he couldn't convert his start into a big score.
First, Kusal Mendis dropped a straightforward chance at second slip in the first over, after Anamul chased a wide delivery from Suranga Lakmal. Anamul was on 2 then. Then, on 25, one ball after he had lofted Dananjaya for six, Anamul was drawn forward by the bowler, only for the ball to sneak underneath his bat. But with the ball keeping low, Niroshan Dickwella couldn't get his hands around it.
Anamul recovered, however, and picked up a straight-driven four and a slog-swept six off Dananjaya. He then skied Thisara Perera towards long-off, but the ball evaded Dinesh Chandimal, running backwards ungainly. One ball later, Perera had his man, strangling Anamul down the leg side and forcing a pull out of the batsman that was top-edged to the keeper.
Tamim, who was relatively slower to start off, battled the short ball well with an assortment of pull shots. While he connected well with several, he also took couple of blows to the helmet.
Tamim was equally adept at dealing with lack of pace,using deft touch to knock around Asela Gunaratne. He struck him for two sixes in the 24th over, both hard and straight down the ground. But just when he looked to be striding towards a century, Dananjaya extracted a fine edge off his bat, although Dickwella's insistence to take the review - after umpire Anisur Rahman had turned down the initial appeal - was crucial.
Like his partner, Shakib, who had already started off strongly during his 99-run second wicket stand with Tamim, tackled the short balls very well. He hardly ducked under anything, and pulled relentlessly to pick up frequent boundaries. His two pulls against Nuwan Pradeep in the 27th over especially stood out.
The fifty came off as many balls in the 34th over. After another pull, off Lakmal, in the 37th over, Shakib fell to Gunaratne, caught and bowled, in the next. He had made 67 off 63 balls with seven fours.
A fourth successive 50-run stand, this time between Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah, kept Bangladesh ticking along after the strong start. Mushfiqur not only ran the singles hard, but also found four fours and a six in his 52-ball 62.
Perera and Pradeep then bowled well in the last five overs, removing Mushfiqur, Mashrafe and Nasir in successive overs. But Mohammad Saifuddin and Sabbir Rahman took Lakmal for three fours and a six in the last over to redeem Bangladesh.Source: espncricinfo.