Bangladesh are on the threshold of achieving yet another significant success in Sri Lanka when they take field in the third and final One-Day International (ODI) at Colombo on Saturday. The visiting side leads the series 1-0, after emerging victorious in the first game and the second one at Dambulla being washed out after first innings’ play. If Bangladesh manage to beat Sri Lanka in the third ODI or if it gets abandoned, they will complete their maiden ODI series win on Sri Lankan soil. They are now in the pole position, and it will be the hosts Sri Lanka who will have to do all the catching-up. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka 3rd ODI at Colombo
Sri Lanka find themselves in an unfamiliar position. In the last 31 years, only twice have they not won at least one game in an ODI series at home. The third ODI of the series puts them into that prospective once again. One of their men, who has been a vital figure in Bangladesh’s turnaround, believes it won’t be easy for Sri Lanka to win the third ODI. Bangladesh’s head coach and former Sri Lankan cricketer, Chandika Hathurasingha, stated ahead of the crucial match that his side will sustain the pressure on the hosts.
“We are very much confident [of a series win] if we get our processes right,” Hathurusingha told the press. “I think we will do well against Sri Lanka. They are a very strong team at home. I can’t remember a time when they didn’t win a single game in a series, so it is a good position we are in. We are 1-0 up so we can’t lose the series. They have to play well, and we have to play our best game to come good.”
Bangladesh have looked a completely different outfit since their win in the second and final Test, which helped them level the series. The side has grown in confidence since then, and the momentum has certainly been with them in the ODIs. Hathurasingha confirmed the same, saying, “When you win, everything looks good. The body language and effort on the field is the biggest change I have seen in the last few matches, after the Galle Test. They had a good one-to-one afterwards, and the boys responded to that very well. In the last game we were a bit lethargic after the first ten overs, but after that they were really good in the heat.”
However, things are not that bad for Sri Lanka, who posted a potentially winning total of 311 runs on the board in second ODI. Had the match not been called off, things could have been different. Bangladesh did score 324 batting first in the first game, but chasing 312 runs would have required some effort.
The washout must be hurting the hosts, but they need to get over and regroup for the crucial third ODI. The positives from the second ODI should keep them in good stead. Kusal Mendis’ ton, Upul Tharanga’s fifty and a steady contribution from the middle order helped them get past 300. They would need the same effort in the final game. Besides, they would also want their bowlers to step up in the crucial game.
Team news: As of now, there is no injury scare to any side. This means, both the teams are likely to field their preferred XIs.
Key players: Bangladesh will hope for another Tamim Iqbal special. Shakib Al Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman and Mehedi Hasan (apart from Tamim) hold the key for them. Sri Lanka will pin their hopes on Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Asela Gunaratne and the seasoned campaigner Thisara Perera.
Conditions: All eyes will be on Colombo weather, and the Sri Lankan fans would hope for a full game. Things, however, do not look good for them at the moment. The forecast suggests rain for the match day as well for the entire week in Colombo. Sri Lanka need a full game to avoid embarrassing series loss at home, while Bangladesh won’t mind a washout either, as it will hand them their maiden bilateral series win over Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga (c), Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Suranga Lakmal, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Lahiru Kumara, Vikum Sanjaya, Thisara Perera, Sachith Pathirana, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lakshan Sandakan
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Subashis Roy, Sanjamul Islam, Shuvagata Hom, Nurul Hasan, Mehedi Hasan.
TIMING: 09:30 local | 04:00 GMT | 09:30 IST