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Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka 2nd ODI Preview: Sri Lanka's weak middle-order gives Bangladesh great chance to claim series

Bangladesh's Mustafizur Rahman
Bangladesh's Mustafizur Rahman

Aware of their middle-order's brittleness, Sri Lanka's top four will have to take added responsibility to paper over the weakness.

Live Scores and Stats - Bangladesh v Sri Lanka 2nd ODI

There were not a lot of surprises in terms of team selection in the series opener. The only interesting pick by Bangladesh was Afif Hossain ahead of Mahedi Hasan. Hasan offers a bit more with the ball and his exclusion left the home side with five proper bowling options with Mahmmadullah and Afif the others in the XI with the ability to bowl.

Sri Lanka went in with an extra spinner in Lakshan Sandakan and picked Ashen Bandara ahead of Akila Dananjaya.

COVID scare

Alarm Bells started ringing when three members of the Sri Lankan contingent returned positive COVID-19 tests on the morning of the first ODI. However, the results of the second test turned out to be negative for two of the three concerned.

The one who tested positive again had recently recovered from a bout of COVID-19. A team doctor believed that the positive result was due to the dead RNAs in his system.

By the time the news of the false positives broke, it was within 90 minutes of the scheduled time for the toss. Fortunately, things were ironed out and the match went ahead. BCB President Nazmul Hassan clarified in the mid-innings break that the ICC guidelines and protocols were in place and the series would go ahead as planned.

Tamim, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah the stars

Bangladesh batted first and did not get off to the best of starts, with the team losing opener Liton Das on the third ball of the second over. Shakib then looked rusty and could only manage 15, struggling at a strike rate of 44.12.

The pitch also contributed to his slow going as it was a two-paced surface and the ball was not coming on to the bat well. Once Mushfiqur Rahim came out to bat, he milked singles and doubles and hit the odd boundary. Batting one notch higher at number 4, Rahim played a valuable innings of 84 off 87 deliveries.

It was his 107-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Mahmmadullah that pulled Bangladesh out of trouble after the team was struggling at 99 for 4 at one point. Afif Hossain justified his selection with 27 off 22 deliveries which ensured that Bangladesh crossed the 250 mark.

de Silva does the damage

The best bowler for Sri Lanka on the day was Dhananjaya de Silva who pocketed three wickets while conceding 45 runs from his 10 overs. All Sri Lankan bowlers apart from Isuru Udana conceded runs at less than 6 RPO. Udana was the most expensive bowler on the day for the visitors.

SL's middle order woes

The Sri Lankan innings started well with openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Perera adding 30 runs within the first five overs. However, a couple of quick dismissals pegged them back.

The lack of experience in the middle order was clearly on display as in the absence of the likes of Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, the team lost quick wickets in the middle order.

Hasaranga's rescue act

With all hope lost at 149 for 7, Wanindu Hasaranga played brilliantly, smashing 74 off just 60 deliveries at a strike rate of 123.33 with the help of 3 fours and 5 sixes to take Sri Lanka close.

Hasaranga had a crucial 50 plus partnership with Isuru Udana who made 21 off 23 deliveries but the total was always going to be out of Sri Lanka's reach. They were bowled out for 224 in the 49th over and lost by 33 runs.

Mehidy Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman too good for SL

Mehidy Hasan was the main man with the ball for Bangladesh and ran through Sri Lanka's top and middle order, picking up four important wickets.

Mustafizur Rahman, despite issues with his calf, made excellent use of cutters and slower deliveries. He picked up three wickets while bowling at an economy of 3.80.

Had it not been for Hasaranga's knock, the margin of defeat for Sri Lanka could have been close to 100 runs. The Sri Lankan batting will have to go about their business a lot more cautiously with the knowledge that they don't have reliable players in the middle-order to fall back on.

To paper over the weakness, their top four in Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis will have to take more responsibility.

Let's have a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:

- Tamim Iqbal (c), Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman 

Sri Lanka - Kusal Perera (c & wk), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Ashen Bandara, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Lakshan Sandakan, Dushmantha Chameera 

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