Mirpur: On a rampaging run with three wins in as many matches, table-toppers Sri Lanka will look to continue their unbeaten streak when they take on a demoralised Bangladesh in an inconsequential one-dayer of the Asia Cup cricket tournament here on Thursday.
Four-time champions, Sri Lanka cruised into the finals of the Asia Cup, riding on their invincible run in the tournament where they defeated Pakistan, India and Afghanistan in their last three matches. Bangladesh, on the other hand, have been winless in the tournament and are languishing at the bottom of the points table. The hosts lost to India in their tournament-opener but it was the moral-shattering defeat against minnows Afghanistan which hurt them most.
However, the Bengal tigers came out blasting all cylinders against Pakistan yesterday, posting a record total of 326 for three, only to see Shahid Afridi blow away their hopes with a blistering 25-ball 59. Bangladesh will now play for pride when they clash with Sri Lanka tomorrow, and would look to take some positives from the last night`s match and repeat a similar show with the bat.
Bangladesh`s top and middle order fired in unison against Pakistan yesterday as Anamul Haque, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque and skipper Rahim piled up agony on the bowlers at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.
However, it will be a difficult task to tame the four-time champions who have been simply magnificent so far in the tournament.
Kumar Sangakkara has been in the form of his life as he blasted scores of 67, 103 and 76 in the last three innings and Bangladesh will have to get rid off the left-hand batsman at the earliest to salvage any hope of a win.
Sangakkara is sitting at the top in the batsmen`s list with most runs in the series, his colleague Lahiru Thirimanne has also been impressive with a total of 145, which includes a century against Pakistan. Kusal Perera and Angelo Matthews are the other two batsmen who too have contributed with a bat, scoring a half century each in the tournament so far.
For Bangladesh, skipper Rahim has led from the front, scoring 191 runs, including a 117 against India, while Anamul, too, have been solid at the top, scoring a century and a half century in three innings. Mominul Haque have also contributed with the bat and ball, scoring 124 runs including a half century and taking three wickets in the series so far.
On the other hand, Bangladesh`s bowling has not been up to the mark and they will have to come up with a much better show if they have to stop the Sri Lanka`s juggernaut. Sri Lanka do have to worry about their bowling unit as their main strike pace and spin duo of Lasith Malinga and Ajanta Mendis have given the team breakthroughs, snapping six and seven wickets, respectively so far.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (c), Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Thisara Perera, Chaturanga de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Ajantha Mendis, Ashan Priyanjan and Dhammika Prasad.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Al-Amin Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Shafiul Islam, Naeem Islam, Rubel Hossain, Shakib-Al-Hasan, Ziaur Rahman, Abdur Razzak, Anamul Haque, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Shamsur Rahman, Sohag Gazi, Shakib al Hasan.
Match starts: 1.30pm IST.