Superb Mushfiqur ton gives Bangladesh fighting total



Even though he was dropped twice on 10 and 85, Mushfiqur didn’t let that affect him, as he battled extreme conditions. © Getty

The tone was set in the opening over of the match. Lasith Malinga returning to international cricket after more than an year showed that he still is quite a bit away from hanging up his boots. He set up Liton Das with away going deliveries and then got him with the fifth ball of the innings with the opener edging to first slip. But the real Malinga came to the fore next ball – a searing inswinging ball took care of Shakib Al Hasan who saw his stumps in a mess. This was peak Malinga who was such a feared bowler in the shorter formats of the game. Yet, Bangladesh ended up with 261 thanks to a brilliant hundred from Mushfiqur Rahim.

It got worse for Bangladesh when Tamim went off with a blow to his forearm after he missed a pull against Suranga Lakmal. Later scans showed a fracture and subsequently the opener was ruled out of the tournament. Suddenly Bangladesh were 1 for 2 after opting to bat under oppressive conditions. Not the start they would have envisaged. It would have been even worse had Sri Lanka’s fielders held on to their catches.

First Mithun was dropped at mid-on by Angelo Mathews and then Rahim at square leg. Both batsmen made the most of those reprieves as they slowly got their eye in. After seeing off the seamers, the introduction of spin in the form of Aponso saw Mithun open out. Runs suddenly started to come freely. Mathews soon brought on Dilruwan Perera; the offie was hit for 14 in his opening over as the batsmen rebuilt the innings.

Soon both batsmen reached fifties and brought up their 100-run stand too. Just when things were looking bright, Malinga came back into the attack and drew out a slog from Mithun which was grabbed by the keeper. Malinga didn’t stop there, he got Mossadek gloving to the keeper while the senior Mahmudullah played a horrible swipe and holed out.

From a promising 134 for 2, three quick wickets saw the score reading 142 for 5. Rahim at the other end was watching all this unfold. Soon Mehidy too fell after a small contribution. With wickets falling at regular intervals, Rahim was in danger of missing out on his 100 but he got there with Mustafizur for company.

After Mustafizur ran himself out, everyone expected the innings to be over. Just that Tamim had other ideas. With his left-hand not usable, he walked out to give Rahim company. A brave move it proved to be as Rahim went berserk at the end with 32 runs coming for the last wicket before he found long-on. A superb innings from Rahim single-handedly gave Bangladesh a total that they can hope to defend. Even though he was dropped twice on 10 and 85, he never let that affect him, battling the extreme conditions, he gutsed it out for one of his more valuable hundreds.

The star for Sri Lanka with the ball was Lasith Malinga who ended with figures of 4 for 23 with two maidens.

Brief scores: Bangladesh 261 in 49.3 overs (Mushfiqur Rahim 144, Mohammad Mithun 63; Lasith Malinga 4-23) vs Sri Lanka.

© Cricbuzz


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