An all-round team performance from Sri Lanka saw them secure a comprehensive 122-run win in the third ODI against Bangladesh, completing a 3-0 series whitewash.
Batting first, Sri Lanka got close to 300 on the back of a combined batting performance, headlined by Angelo Mathew’s 87, before an opening burst from Kasun Rajitha and three wickets from Dasun Shanaka put paid to the Tigers’ hopes of a consolation win.
Avishka Fernando was the only member of the home batting line-up to miss out, pinned lbw by Shafiul Islam for six, as all of Nos.2-5 passed 40 to set the platform for an imposing score.
Captain Dimuth Karunaratne and wicket-keeper Kusal Perera fell in the 40s, while Kusal Mendis departed not long after bringing up his half-century, but Mathews carried on until the final over of the innings before falling 13 runs short of what would have been his fourth ODI century.
Shanaka aided the late-innings acceleration, striking a brace each of fours and sixes in his 14-ball 30, while Wanindu Hasaranga finished the innings with consecutive boundaries.
With the ball, Shafiul and Soumya Sarkar each claimed three wickets, though both also went at over a run a ball. Only Taijul Islam, who claimed 1/34 off his 10 overs, was able to keep a lid on the scoring rate.
Sarkar impressed in the chase too; he was the only Bangladesh batsman to emerge from a disastrous pursuit with some credit.
He top-scored with 69, but apart from Taijul’s merry 38* from No.9, no one else could cross 14. Rajitha removed both openers inside the first eight overs before Shanaka took over, gutting the middle order to leave Bangladesh sinking at 83/5.
Lahiru Kumara then got in on the act, dismissing Sabbir Rahman and Mehidy Hasan Miraz in consecutive overs, and when Akila Dananjaya bowled Sarkar, it was all over bar the shouting, Sri Lanka eventually prevailing by 122 runs.
For the tourists, after the promise of the early stages of their Men’s Cricket World Cup campaign, they have now lost five games in five, and have rarely competed in this series.
But credit should go to Sri Lanka. It was a true team performance from the hosts, not just with ball and bat but in the field too, with three wickets coming via excellent catches, each from different fielders, and the result completed with a run out, fittingly from the bullet arm of Karunaratne, who has his team pulling in the same direction.
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