A confident performance and an easy win in the second match gave Sri Lanka an unassailable 2-0 lead. While the Islanders have ended a 44-month drought at home, there is still so much to gain. Another win over Bangladesh will give Sri Lanka a positive start in rebuilding their squad for 2023 World Cup.
For Bangladesh, it is a case of a strong reality check. Their exploits in the World Cup now look a distant fact, pushed only by Shakib Al Hasan’s exploits. In fact, without the all-rounder in their side, Bangladesh have lost 14 of their last 17 ODIs outside of Bangladesh. The hosts have the incentive of extending their dominance over Bangladesh at this venue to 8-0.
Sri Lanka Preview
The hosts enjoyed batting dominance in both the ODIs of the series. Kusal Perera (141 runs, SR 106.01) has been giving great starts for Sri Lanka, while everyone else contributed around him. Avishka Fernando and Angelo Mathews have also chipped with regular scores.
Nuwan Pradeep seems to have taken up the mantle of lead bowler for Sri Lanka. With Akila Dananjaya getting back to form post his ‘action change’, Sri Lanka seem to have ticked all the boxes.
The absence of key players has hurt Bangladesh. Shakib’s absence has left them a big hole at the top, while Mashrafe Mortaza could have been a big bonus with his leadership. The lack of batting performances from Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah have pulled Bangladesh down.
Mustafizur Rahman with four wickets has been Bangladesh’s best bowler this series. Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan have enjoyed Colombo’s bowling conditions. However, it will require more than a few individual contributions for Bangladesh to win a match.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Avishka Fernando has scores of 49, 30, 104, 20, 7 and 82 (recent) in his last six innings. The hard-hitting opener could be set for another big score.
Akila Dananajaya got back into international reckoning with a bang. His figures of 2 for 39 in the second match could have been even better.
Mushfiqur Rahim has been the lone success factor for Bangladesh this series. His experience will be vital to add more runs, and fetch fantasy points.
Sri Lanka: 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (C) 2 Avishka Fernando 3 Kusal Perera (WK) 4 Kusal Mendis 5 Angelo Mathews 6 Lahiru Thirimanne 7 Dhananjaya de Silva 8 Isuru Udana 9 Nuwan Pradeep 10 Lahiru Kumara 11 Akila Dananjaya
Bangladesh: 1 Tamim Iqbal (C) 2 Soumya Sarkar 3 Mohammad Mithun 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (WK) 5 Mahmudullah 6 Sabbir Rahman 7 Mosaddek Hossain 8 Mustafizur Rahman 9 Mehidy Hasan 10 Taijul Islam 11 Rubel Hossain
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