After a breather, it is time for the cricketing fans to return to their seats as another long ride awaits them in the upcoming weeks. One of the stops is the island nation, Sri Lanka where two Asian titans will be colliding with each other. Both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the 2019 World Cup. Still what makes their 3-match ODI series interesting is the fact that one is on the rise of their white-ball journey and other on the fall.
Apart from the occasional purrs, the Lankan Lions have completely forgotten to roar. In the last 4 years, the team has not won a single bilateral ODI series against the top 10 sides. They have failed to find a leader in the group. The youngsters have not performed well even after getting the required push. However, there is a glimmer of hope as there is talent in the side which just needs a direction and they are playing on their home turf.
On the other hand, the Bangladesh team has seen a mercurial rise in their 50 overs cricket. Though the side finished in the bottom half of the points table in 2019 World Cup they played some consistent cricket throughout the tournament. Earlier in the year, they also won their first multi-nation event in Ireland. It will be a golden opportunity to add another ODI trophy to their cabinet.
Dimuth Karunaratne has been retained as the ODI skipper and he will also be leading the charge at the top. The youngster Avishka Fernando who played well in England will join him. The middle-order will see Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews taking up the responsibility and the former needs some runs under his belt. Along with his attacking strokeplay, Kusal Perara will be also keeping the wickets.
Dhananjaya De Silva and Thisara Perera will be the all-round options and Perara’s recent form with the bat will add the required depth to the batting unit. The mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya is set to return after his World Cup snub. The champion Lasith Malinga will be leading the bowling unit for the final time in internationals along with Isuru Udana and Nuwan Pradeep.
Predicted XI: Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perara (WK), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perara, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Lahiru Kumara/ Nuwan Pradeep.
The veteran Tamim Iqbal will be captaining the side owing to regular skipper Mashrafe Mortaza’s injury. He will be opening the innings with Soumya Sarkar. In the absence of Shakib Al Hasan, the middle-order duties will be shared by Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, and Mahmudallah. Sabbir Rahman and Mosaddek Hossain might get the opportunity to finish the innings if the team management decides to use their power game.
Mehidy Hasan is likely to continue as their ace tweaker in the absence of their all-rounder, Shakib. Mohammad Saifuddin will play a key role as he showed his all-round abilities in the 2019 World Cup. Mustafizur Rahman will have to shoulder the fast bowling responsibilities and he might have Taskin Ahmed for his company who has made a comeback to the side.
Predicted XI: Tamim Iqbal (C), Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim (WK), Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Saifuddin, Taskin Ahmed/ Taijul Islam
Focus will be on
Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)
The speedster will be playing his last ODI game at Colombo and he deserves to end his glittering career on a positive note. He will finish with more than 330 wickets in the 50-over format and will end as the second-best fast bowler from the island nation behind Chaminda Vaas. Malinga with his bag of tricks will be again the trump card for the Lankan side.
Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh)
The Bangladesh opener had a torrid time in this English summer. He will be eager to right his wrongs and will be trying to get his form back on surfaces which are more suitable to him. Tamim has to score big runs as the middle-order will be weak without the services of Shakib Al-Hasan. He will need to lead the batting unit from the front.
Head to Head
Matches played – 45 / Sri Lanka won -36 / Bangladesh won – 7 / No Result – 2
0 – Number of opening ties won by Sri Lankan team in a home ODI series since 2016
6 – Number of wickets shared by Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed in their last Sri Lankan sojourn.
TV – Sony Six and Sony Six HD
Live Streaming – Sony LIV
Match Timings – 14:30 IST, 14:30 local
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