Sri Lanka gives Kulasekara a perfect farewell with series whitewash | Daily News

Sri Lanka gives Kulasekara a perfect farewell with series whitewash

Former Sri Lanka cricketer Nuwan Kulasekara is felicitated by Sri Lanka Cricket with a memento presented to him by SLC president Shammi Silva.
Former Sri Lanka cricketer Nuwan Kulasekara is felicitated by Sri Lanka Cricket with a memento presented to him by SLC president Shammi Silva.

Sri Lanka cricketers gave former fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara a perfect farewell from cricket when they completed a 3-0 whitewash of the three-match ODI series against Bangladesh by winning the third and final match by 122 runs at the R Premadasa Stadium yesterday.

The match was dedicated to 37-year-old Kulasekara who played his last international game for Sri Lanka in July 10, 2017. In a career spanning 14 years (2003-2017) he took 199 wickets from 184 ODIs, 66 wickets from 58 T20Is and appeared in 21 Tests for his country capturing 48 wickets.

Kulasekara watched the entire match from the stands with his family and one-time bowling partner Lasith Malinga who retired at the end of the first match of the series.

The 3-0 series whitewash was Sri Lanka’s first since beating West Indies at home in 2015.

Having already pocketed the series by winning the first two matches, Sri Lanka rested most of their key players and made four changes to the side bringing in young players for the final game. The young ’uns did not disappoint putting up a tremendous performance on the field to outplay Bangladesh.

Chasing a tall target of 294, Bangladesh were never in the hunt after losing their captain Tamim Iqbal for two in the second over and were eventually bowled out for 172 in 36 overs.

Without Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana and Dhananajaya de Silva who were all rested the Lankan bowling looked pretty thin. But Kasun Rajitha and Dasun Shanaka who replaced them and Lahiru Kumara put their hands up to put Bangladesh to the sword picking up seven wickets between them.

Only one drop batsman Soumya Sarkar stood tall amongst the ruins scoring a fighting 69 off 86 balls before being eighth out at 143. The rest of the batsmen hardly put up a fight as the Lankans were all over them.

Today’s defeat was Bangladesh’s fifth in a row and constituted their worst string of results in ODIs since 2014.

The highlight of the Lankan innings of 294-8 was Angelo Mathew’s excellent knock of 87 that gave him the Player of the Match award. He also took the Player of the Series prize.

Winning the toss Sri Lanka were off to a quite start after losing Avishka Fernando early in the fifth over for six trapped plumb in front off a Shafiul Islam delivery. But Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera set the platform for a big total with a stand of 83 before both parted one over of each other.

Karunaratne after doing all the hard work and on the verge of reaching his first fifty of the series threw it away by trying to paddle sweep left-arm spinner Taijul Islam and presenting wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim with the simplest of catches. Two runs later Kusal Perera going for an extravagant slash over point against Rubel Hossain edged a catch to Mushfiqur. The dismissal of both batsmen for 46 and 42 respectively in quick succession brought Bangladesh into the game.

With two new batsmen at the crease Sri Lanka had to rebuild their innings once again. It was a good occasion to test the Lankan middle and late order strength and on this occasion they came off with flying colours.

There was a quite passage of play between the 24th and 32nd overs where there was not a single boundary scored while Mendis and Mathews consolidated. Mendis broke the barren run by sweeping Mehidy for two fours in the 32nd over.

The Mendis-Mathews stand blossomed to put on 101 for the fourth wicket before Mendis holed out to long-on for a nicely paced out knock of 54 scored off 58 balls with five fours and a six.

Mathews continued to hold the innings together for a brilliant 87 off 90 balls (8 fours, 1 six).

With Dasun Shanaka who played a cameo knock of 30 off 14 balls (2 fours, 2 sixes), Mathews added 52 off 28 balls and Sri Lanka who were 188-3 at the end of the 40th over plundered 106 off the last ten overs to end with a above-par total of 294-8.

Bangladesh’s fielding was ragged and they had only themselves to blame for giving Mathews two lives at 32 and 63 which the batsman gladly accepted and made full use of.

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