DAY 1 – Kusal Mendis & Aslea Gunaratne Makes Bangladesh Sweat

The battle between the Lions and Tigers began at Galle – with both the teams desperate to make a mark for themselves. Bangladesh had the upper hand initially, however, the Lions who stood at a commanding position at the end of the day on 321 runs for 4 wickets with Kusal Mendis and Aslea Gunaratne playing a gem of a knock.

First Session –

Sri Lankan captain, Rangna Hearth, won the toss and opted to bat first. It is generally the trend in Asia where the winning captain wins the toss and elects to bat. Mushfiqur Rahim would have also exactly the same. Bangladesh made 3 changes to their line-up bringing in Liton Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman and Subashish Roy.

The opening bowlers, Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman, started off strongly for Bangladesh. However, it was Subashish Roy who broke the opening partnership in his first over by getting Upal Tharanga cleaned up. The very next ball he picked up Kusal Mendis playing a lazy shot and getting him caught by the keeper but his joy was short-lived when the dismissal was ruled out due to overstepping.


Subashish Roy celebrates the wicket of Upal Tharanga (Image Source – AFP)

Sri Lanka was struggling with the bat as the batters were trying to build up a partnership. Both Mendis and Karunaratne worked extremely hard to get runs on the board. Bangladesh was applying pressure by bowling decent line and length on a pitch that wasn’t assisting the bowlers a lot. Just before the lunch interval Mehedi picked up the wicket of Karunaratne. It was Bangladesh’s session as they did not allow the Sri Lankan’s batsmen to score freely. The teams headed to lunch with Sri Lanka on 61/2.

Second Session –

Mendis and Chandimal – the centurion of the practice game, hoped to improve on their scoring rate in the second session. Mendis looked comfortable as he was picking the gap well, however, Chandimal, on the other hand, was a bit too cautious. The pressure of the dot balls got to him as he was dismissed by Mustafizur for 5 runs off 45 balls. The Lions had lost their 3rd wicket for 92 runs.


Mendis played beautifully as he took full advantage of his life. (Image Credit – AFP)

Sri Lanka needed a big partnership and the pair – Mendis & Gunaratne, did not disappoint. Both the batsmen scored run freely. The Bangladeshi bowlers did not have a clue as the Sri Lankan batsmen took control. The teams headed off for tea with Sri Lanka completely dominating the session as they piled up 155 runs for 3 wickets. They just lost one wicket and managed to up their run rate in this session.

Third Session –

There was no stopping for the pair as they continued batting handsomely in the 3rd session. The body language of the Bangladeshi players looked tired as the fielding standard dropped. Mendis bought his 150 whereas Gunaratne got to his 50, as they continued to dominate the bowling.

Bangladeshi bowlers couldn’t do a lot and were bowling short at times to leak easy runs. The hoped that things would change with the new ball. It did as Taskin cleaned up Gunaratne as he dragged the ball onto his stumps. A brilliant aggressive inning came to end on 85 runs, giving Bangladesh a bit of joy. Gunaratne was replaced by Dickwella, who did not waste any time to kick start his innings. Sri Lanka finished the day on the top scoring 321 runs for the loss of 4 wickets – with Mendis unbeaten on 164 runs.


Gunarante played a gem of an innings before falling at 85 runs. (Image Credit – AFP)

Bangladesh did pretty well in the first innings but couldn’t continue it for the rest of the day. The pitch looks very good to bat on. Mendis and Gunarante showed that with a bit of patience and application it is possible to score big on this pitch. Bangladesh would hope to get early wickets tomorrow and possibly get them all out soon before Sri Lanka post’s a massive total. 


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