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Sri Lanka search for answers as Bangladesh eye clean sweep

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Although they are 2-0 up and have sealed the series, Bangladesh will not allow themselves to relax in the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Dhaka today. The home team has just got out of a ten-match winless streak and there remain many areas to still get right, with bigger challenges coming up later in the year. The same, if not more, applies for Sri Lanka. It has so far been a tough few days for the visitors who, after enduring a Covid-19 scare, went down in both ODIs quite easily.

Sri Lanka’s biggest headache on this tour has been the lack of runs from their recognised batters. Wanindu Hasaranga is their highest run-getter with 80 runs, including a half-century in the first game. But those runs were made from number eight, with Sri Lanka’s top seven yet to register a half-century across both matches.

But as much as there has been criticism of their selection policy to drop some of their experienced players from the squad, the likes of Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva have been around for long enough to carry a batting line-up. Pathum Nissanka, Ashen Bandara and Dasun Shanaka are relatively new, but they all possess the ability to play spin.

What should have heartened the team must be their bowling and fielding in these two matches. Dushmantha Chameera and Lakshan Sandakan have been among the wickets, while Hasaranga has bowled some accurate leg-spin too. Sri Lanka have had Bangladesh on the ropes a few times, but the home side has fought back from situations like 99 for 4 in the first ODI, and 15 for 2, 74 for 4, and 184 for 7 in the second to eventually post match-winning totals.

This is where the experienced Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah have made the difference between the two teams. Whenever they have faced trouble, one of the three has stood up with the bat. While Rahim has made 209 runs in the two matches, equally important have been his partnerships of 109 and 87 with Mahmudullah from difficult positions.

Bangladesh’s bowling, though, has really come forth in difficult times. Mehidy Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman have been great support acts to Shakib Al Hasan, while youngster Shoriful Islam didn’t look out of place either on his ODI debut in the last game.

Mehidy is now the second-best bowler in the ICC ODI bowlers’ rankings, having picked up seven wickets in the two matches. He has taken control of Sri Lanka’s middle overs while using a fine mix of flight, spin and accurate length.

Dushmantha Chameera bowled a superb first over in the second ODI, removing both Tamim and Shakib in the space of four balls. And though Sri Lanka couldn’t take advantage of it, Chameera has come off as one of the highlights for the visitors on this tour.

Niroshan Dickwella could replace Ashen Bandara to beef up Sri Lanka’s middle order. Although all-rounder Ramesh Mendis and Akila Dananjaya are also in the squad as spin-bowling options, it is the team’s batting that needs more attention.

Shakib needs one wicket to become the highest wicket-taker for Bangladesh in ODIs. But he needs two more to overtake Mashrafe Mortaza as the one with the most wickets from his country in the format, as Mortaza took 269 for Bangladesh and one for Asia XI against Africa XI in 2007.

Sri Lanka (Probable): Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera (Captain), Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (Wicketkeeper), Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Lakshan Sandakan and Dushmantha Chameera.

Bangladesh (Probable): Tamim Iqbal (Captain), Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (Wicketkeeper), Mosaddek Hossain, Mahmudullah Riyad, Afif Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam and Mustafizur Rahman.



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Navy men and women record wins at Inter Club rugby matches

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The men’s and women’s rugby teams of the Navy secured two more wins in their encounters over the Air Force in the Sri Lanka Rugby Nippon Paint Inter Club League Rugby Tournament at the Navy Rugby Ground, Welisara.

Navy men scored a thrilling 32-31 victory over Air Force where T.M. Weerasinghe added points through three conversions and two penalties. Further, S.J.F. Gregory, R.A.N.U. Perera, M.A.F.M. Mushin and G.D.J. Laksara also made a try each.

In the meantime, Navy women recorded a comprehensive 55-0 win over their Air Force counterparts. In this encounter, A.H.S. Madumali scored three tries and collected points through five conversions. In addition, R.S.H. Kumari scored two tries and P. Dilani, M.R. Kumudumalee, G.G. Randunu and W.R.W. Vithana too scored a try each.

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Dinara, Sajida win first-round matches

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ITF Junior Circuit Week I Tournament

Dinara de Silva and Sajida Razick won their respective first-round matches of the ITF Junior Circuit Week I tournament which commenced at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Monday.

De Silva beat Silvia Caliman of Spain 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the second round and Sajida Razick overcame India’s Gagana Mohal with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win in her match.

The tournament is set to conclude on February 5.

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St. Anthony’s in command against Ananda

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Under 19 Cricket

Kaveesha Piyumal and Induwara Galapitage shocked Ananda sharing six wickets between them as St. Anthony’s, Katugastota contained the home team to 56 for eight wickets at stumps after posting a commanding 268 on day one of the Under 19 traditional match at Ananda Mawatha on Monday.

Mohomed Aaqil (73) and Kavindu Shehan (46) gave the hosts an ideal start adding 90 runs for the first wicket after they decided to bat first. Lahiru Abeysinghe, Rayan Anthonyzs and Janith Rathnasiri then made vital contributions for them to reach 268 runs.

In their essay home team were rocked by the visitors as Piyumal grabbed for wickets for 17 runs to rattle the middle order.

Scores:

St. Anthony’s

268 all out in 54 overs (Mohomed Aaqil 73, Kavindu Shehan 46, Lahiru Abeysinghe 47, Rayan Anthonyzs 27, Janith Rathnasiri 36, Charuka Ekanayake 21; Kithma Sithmal 3/86, Ashinsa Nainayake 2/57, Ayesh Shashimal 5/40)

Ananda

56 for 8 in 32 overs (Kaveesha Piyumal 4/17, Induwara Galapitage 2/11) (RF)

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