Shaky Sri Lanka sneak home
Sri Lanka came close to suffering surprise defeat in their opening warm-up match for the World Twenty20 before securing a four-wicket victory over Bangladesh.
Chasing Bangladesh's total of 151 for six, Sri Lanka looked set to underline their credentials as potential winners when they raced to 112 for three in 13 overs.
But their innings lost all momentum between the 13th and 17th overs, during which period they added only five runs and lost two wickets - included Mahela Jayawardene for 43 - and it needed a wide with two balls remaining to clinch victory.
Having rested two key members of their side - prolific spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and strike bowler Lasith Malinga - Sri Lanka dominated Bangladesh throughout their innings despite using eight different bowlers.
It took a determined 70-run partnership off 55 balls between Mushfiqur Rahim and Raqibul Hasan to ensure Bangladesh reached a respectable total in their second match in as many days at Trent Bridge.
Sri Lanka debutant Isuru Udana earlier claimed the key scalps of Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful and Mahmudullah, both smartly caught behind by Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara in the space of three balls.
Rahim and Raqibul enabled Bangladesh to a competitive score, only for Sri Lanka's powerful top order to lay the platform for what should have been a comfortable triumph.
The loss of four wickets in five overs, just as Sri Lanka sensed victory, stalled their progress, however, with left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan impressing with 2-18 from four overs.
Jehan Mubarak finally regained the momentum for Sri Lanka by hitting successive fours in the 18th over of the innings, bowled by seamer Mashrafe Mortaza, before falling to the next delivery, leaving Chamara Silva and Angelo Mathews to secure an unconvincing win.
Sangakkara confirmed afterwards that his team’s return to the international stage is a tentative step in the right direction, following the attack on their team bus during a Test in Lahore in March.
He predicts security will continue to be a major issue not just for Sri Lanka but all international cricket teams.
“Since Lahore, we’ve accepted the fact that there is never a 100% guarantee,” he said. “But we have to move on and play cricket. That is what we’re here for, and that is what we’ll be doing.
“We’ve got to have that mental strength and fortitude to get on with our business, not just for us but for all teams.
“In the current world climate, security will be an issue - in some countries more than others. Worldwide, there is a threat.”
Sangakkara has been happy so far with security measures - and was satisfied too with his team’s performance on the pitch.
“We probably should have finished it with maybe one over or nine balls to spare,” he conceded. “But it just goes to show if you play a couple of overs in a negative mode you get back into that chasing frame of mind.”
Shakib, who revealed he is hoping to join an English county in the near future - pending negotiations between his agent and prospective employers - conceded Bangladesh still have work to do.
“We did well to recover after our poor start with the bat - and then we bowled very well,” he said. “But our fielding is not up to the mark yet. We need to learn from these warm-up games and we will.”