XtraTime Web Desk: Bangladesh began their Asia Cup campaign in commanding fashion, sweeping aside Sri Lanka by 137 runs at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium thanks to a career-best 144 from Mushfiqur Rahim.
Mushfiqur’s side were in deep trouble when he arrived at the crease, Lasith Malinga (4/23) having taken two wickets in the first over of the match on his first international appearance for a year before Tamim Iqbal was forced to retire on 2 not out an over later after a Suranga Lakmal delivery fractured his left wrist.
The injury has ruled Tamim out for the remainder of the competition, although he still had an important part to play later in the innings.
A rebuilding job was required and Mushfiqur found a willing partner in Mohammad Mithun (63), who registered a maiden ODI fifty. The pair shared a crucial stand of 133, taking Bangladesh from 1/2 to 134/3 when Mithun became Malinga’s third victim, looping a catch to Kusal Perera behind the stumps.
It gave Sri Lanka a foothold, as Mahmudullah was dismissed for 1 by the slow left-arm spin of Amila Aponso and a superb slower ball from Malinga accounted for Mosaddek Hossain, also for a solitary run.
At 142/5, Bangladesh’s innings was threatening to subside limply, and Lakmal’s caught-and-bowled dismissal of Mehedi Hasan (15) plunged them into further trouble. But Mushfiqur refused to be cowed, bringing up his sixth ODI hundred and ploughing on to the joint second-highest score in the history of the Asia Cup, after Virat Kohli’s 183 against Pakistan in 2012.
At the end of the innings the diminutive right-hander found unlikely support in the injured opener Tamim, who returned to the crease despite his fractured wrist and helped him add 32 for the final wicket. It took Bangladesh to 261 – a total that never looked on the cards after Malinga’s early breakthroughs.
Upul Tharanga started Sri Lanka’s reply in a hurry, undeterred by the loss of his opening partner Kusal Mendis for a golden duck, lbw to Mustafizur Raham (2/20), as he raced to 27 in 16 balls.
However, when he was bowled by Mashrafe Mortaza (2/25) it became a procession for Bangladesh, the Sri Lankan batsmen playing some ill-judged shots in a chastening defeat with which to open their Asia Cup campaign. `
Rubel Hossain took the crucial wicket of Angelo Mathews, trapping Sri Lanka’s captain lbw for 16 to reduce them to 63/6, and despite some lusty lower-order hitting from Dilruwan Perera (29) and Lakmal (20), the game was up, Shakib Al Hasan dismissing Aponso to wrap up the innings on 124 in the 36th over.
Sri Lanka will have a second chance to open their account in the tournament when they take on Afghanistan on 17 September, while Bangladesh’s next match is also against the Afghans on 20 September.