Malinga shines in narrow Sri Lanka win in warm-up tie


Sri Lanka continued with its recent run of super form in Bangladesh with a five-run win over India in the first warm-up game for both teams ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Monday (March 17).

After it was asked to bat, Sri Lanka rode on a late blitz from Thisara Perera and Nuwan Kulasekara to reach 153 for 6 in their 20 overs. In reply, India was thwarted by Lasith Malinga, who picked up four wickets, to be bowled out for 148, the innings ending on the last ball of their 20 overs.

Sri Lanka got off to a steady start and though Varun Aaron dismissed Kusal Perera after a 15-ball 21, Mahela Jayawardena and Tillakaratne Dilshan shared a 40-run stand for the second wicket.

However, the Sri Lankans lost some momentum once India introduced its slower bowlers, Jayawardena (30 in 20 balls) going out caught and bowled by Amit Mishra, while Dilshan fell to R Ashwin after a painfully slow 20-ball 9. Ashwin, Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina continued the good work and Sri Lanka, after 17 overs, was struggling at 119 for 6.

But an unbeaten 34-run stand in three overs between Thisara Perera (18 in 11 balls) and Kulasekara (21 in 14 balls) took Sri Lanka to a much more respectable total.

Ashwin was the most successful of the Indian bowlers, returning figures of 3 for 22 from four overs, while Mishra, Raina and Aaron picked up a wicket apiece.

Kulasekara topped off his effort with the bat by putting India on the back foot straightaway in the second half of the game, dismissing Shikhar Dhawan with his first ball of the second over. Malinga then added to the damage by sending back Rohit Sharma.

Things got better for India after that though, as Raina and Yuvraj Singh came together and resurrected the innings with a 35-run stand for the third wicket.

After Raina was dismissed for a 31-ball 41 and Ajinkya Rahane was caught and bowled by Sachithra Senanayake for a duck, Yuvraj and Virat Kohli took on Sri Lanka’s bowling. The stand promised much, but didn’t last for too long, as Malinga came back to break the 32-run stand, put together in just 2.5 overs, dismissing Kohli for a nine-ball 17.

India lost its way after that. Yuvraj was caught behind off Kulasekara after hitting two fours and two sixes in a 28-ball 33, and though Stuart Binny and Ashwin offered some resistance – putting on 32 runs in 3.1 overs late in the innings – Malinga (4/30) returned in the final over and picked up two wickets off the last two balls to seal the victory.

Brief scores
Sri Lanka 153-6 in 20 overs (Mahela Jayawardena 30, Dinesh Chandimal 29; R Ashwin 3-22)
India 148 in 20 overs (Suresh Raina 41, Yuvraj Singh 33; Nuwan Kulasekara 2-37, Lasith Malinga 4-30)
Result: Sri Lanka beat India by five runs.

(Courtesy: International Cricket Council)