Monday, November 29, 1999

Sri Lanka amass 312 for four against Bangladesh

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Dambulla, Jun 18 (PTI) Sri Lanka rode on impressive top-order display to pile up a mammoth 312 for four against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup cricket tournament here today. Tillakaratne Dilshan (71), Upul Tharanga (54) and captain Kumar Sangakkara (52) shone with the bat to put Sri Lanka in the command after the island nation won the toss and elected to bat at the Rangagiri Dambulla International stadium. Dilshan and Tharanga shared 111-run opening partnership to set the platform for the highest total at this venue. Mahela Jayawardene (43) also chipped in with useful contribution in the middle and then Angelo Mathews (42 not out) and Chamara Kapugedera (37 not out) provided the late impetus to the Lankan innings. However, slaughtered like innocent lambs at the start by an aggressive Dilshan, Bangladesh regained their poise briefly when they took the bowling power play in the 17th over. Medium pacers Shafiul Islam and Syed Rasel bowled a probing line to concede just 19 runs in five overs to put some brake on the Lankan charge. Bangladesh earned the breakthrough in the 16th over when Dilshan offered a feeble return catch to Shakib Al Hasan, the ball lobbing of the leading edge as he shaped to work the left-arm spinner to square. The flamboyant opener smashed eleven boundaries and a six during his 51-ball stay. But Bangladesh had to toil hard to make further inroads into the fortified Lankan bastion as Tharanga and Sangakkara consolidated the position with a 44-run second wicket stand. But after all the hard work Tharanga gave away his wicket to Mahmudullah in the 27th over. Dancing down the wicket to hit the off spinner, Tharanga completely missed the line to find himself stranded way down the crease and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim made no mistake in whipping off the bails after initially appealing for a catch. Thereafter, it was Sri Lanka all the way as two of their most experienced batsmen -- Sangakkara and Jayawardene dropped anchor to pile on Bangladesh''s agony. The elegant duo posted 69 runs off 66 deliveries for the third wicket before Jayawardene was holed out to Shakib Al Hasan at covers off Shafiul Islam (2/59). Shafiul Islam, easily Bangladesh''s best bowler of the day, accounted for Sangakkara as well as he had the Lankan captain caught at point by Shakib Al Hasan. But then Mathews and Kapugedara joined in the Lankan party and raised 73 runs off just 67 balls for the unbroken fifth-wicket stand to take the score beyond the 300-run mark. PTI JH SSC.

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