DImuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka captain)
Pix by Waruna Wanniarachchi
By M. Shamil Amit
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will come out for the first time after the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup in England with both teams making changes in their sides.
The two sides will play the first of three ODIs today under floodlights at the R. Premadasa Stadium, scheduled to be played from 2.30 p.m. onwards.
Apart from the match itself, this will be somewhat of a significant occasion for the host side as it will be the final ODI appearance for ace bowler Lasith Malinga.
Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne speaking at a pre match briefing at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday stated that Malinga will go down as a national hero and his team will leave no stone unturned by winning the match to give him a fitting farewell.
Speaking further he said, “It’s going to be tough to find a bowler of his calibre. Besides aiming to win the match on behalf of Malinga we have planned farewells for him that will begin before match starts from the hotel that we are staying and likewise we have arranged another farewell for him after the match.”
He added that the pitch for the match seems to be well balanced which is going to be of benefit to the batsmen and the fast bowlers.
“We might go into the game with the players that played at the World Cup and we hope to have five bowlers included in the playing side,” he said.
The Sri Lanka selectors have brought in Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya and Wanindu Hasaranga who all shone in the warm up game against the visitors and have kept faith on Kusal Mendis despite being unable to make any impression at the World Cup. Shanaka showed his capabilities which warranted him to be included and he will come into consideration after the first ODI, when he will join the squad.
Bangladesh skipper Iqbal paying tribute to Lasith Malinga was of the view that he is a cricketing legend not only in Sri Lanka but among all cricket playing nations and it’s an honour that Bangladesh is involved in his farewell match
However the two sides’ are confident and Bangladesh, despite missing some of their top players due to injuries including regular skipper Mashrafe Mortaza and allrounder Mohammad Saifudeen and their top Shakib Al Hasan and Liton Das who are being rested, have players who could fit in as replacements.
The visitors led by stand in Captain Tamim Iqbal had a good game in preparation for the three ODIs, recording a five wicket win against the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI in which Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Mithun shone with half tons and also skipper Iqbal, Mahudullah and Sabbir Rahman having useful batting practice.
Bangladesh skipper Iqbal paying tribute to Lasith Malinga was of the view that he is a cricketing legend not only in Sri Lanka but among all cricket playing nations and it’s an honour that Bangladesh is involved in his farewell match.
However Bangladesh who have never won an ODI series in Sri Lanka will strive to achieve it for the first time with the focus for the home side first will be to give the ace bowler Lasith Malinga a fitting farewell.
Sri Lanka – Dimuth Karunaratne (Capt.), Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lasith Malinga, Akila Dhananjaya, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha, Dasun Shanuka.
Bangladesh – Tamim Iqbal (Capt.), Mushfiqur Rahim, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah Riad, Mohammad Mithun, Mosaddek Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Shaful Islam, Anamul Haque, Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Farhad Reza, Taskin Ahmed.