Treveen Mathew took 4 wickets on his ODI debut
Aich Mollah played a hand for Bangladesh with a fighting 86
By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
For a team that had not played an international match for 20 months, Sri Lanka came up with an inspiring performance in the first Under 19 ODI to beat reigning Under 19 World Cup champions Bangladesh by 42 runs and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series played at the Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium yesterday.
Sri Lanka’s victory revolved around two debutants from Kandy, Pawan Pathiraja of Trinity College who hit a stroke-filled half-century and off-spinner Treveen Mathew of St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota who took four wickets.
Thanks to Pathiraja’s brilliant knock of 67 off 88 balls (5 fours) Sri Lanka managed to put up a challenging total of 228-9 and then dismiss Bangladesh for 186 in 46.2 overs with Mathew returning figures of 4 for 29 off 10 overs, 2 of which were maidens.
Aich Mollah, Bangladesh’s in-form batsman and vice-captain who scored a century against Afghanistan in the series before the current one, played a lone hand as wickets tumbled around him to be dismissed last for a valiant 86 off 93 balls (9 fours).
Pathiraja played a fine innings piercing the gaps and picking up singles and twos against some tight and accurate bowling by the Bangladeshis who never gave anything away on the field with the exception of a few misfields towards the latter part of the Lankan innings.
Pathiraja held the Lankan middle order together but lost his wicket at a crucial phase of the innings at 165 in the 41st over, when Sri Lanka could have accelerated and got to a total beyond 250. His dismissal saw the fall of four more wickets cheaply as Bangladesh kept a tight leash on the scoring.
Sri Lanka winning the toss and batting first lost three wickets in the first power play being 32-3 in 10.1 overs before Pathiraja lifted the innings with two half-century partnerships with Sadisha Rajapaksa (28) and vice-captain Raveen de Silva (29). Rajapaksa and Pathiraja added 53 for the fourth wicket and De Silva helped Pathiraja in a further stand of 80 for the fifth.
Following these two recovery stands Sri Lanka once again lost a cluster of wickets slipping from 165-4 to 195-8, but no. 10 Yasiru Rodrigo ensured that Sri Lanka got to a competitive total by playing a cameo knock of 25 not out off 15 balls inclusive of 1 six and 3 fours.
Fast bowler Ripon Mondol who claimed two early wickets finished with figures of 3 for 59, being taken to task in the death overs conceding 31 runs off his last three for one wicket.
Bangladesh lost four wickets for four runs in their run chase after an opening stand of 31 to be 35-4 in the 14th over with off-spinner Shevon Daniel taking two wickets in his first over on debut. Ariful Islam joined Mollah in a recovery partnership of 70 but when it seemed like this pair would pull their side out of trouble the stand was ended by the run out of Islam for a well composed 38 off 67 balls.
Mollah battled on never giving up while Sri Lanka kept picking up wickets regularly from the other end. But with the asking rate going above 10 an over, it turned out to be a difficult task for one man to achieve single-handedly.
One thought that the Bangladeshis didn’t produce their best batting performance, many of them perishing to poor shot selections. An improved performance can be expected from them in the remaining games. The second ODI will take place at the same venue on Monday (18 October).
Sri Lanka (U19) 228-9 (50) (Pawan Pathiraja 67, Sadisha Rajapaksa 28, Raveen de Silva 29, Yasiru Rodrigo 25*, Ashikur Zaman 2/43, Ripon Mondol 3/59)
Bangladesh (U19) 186 (46.2) (Aich Mollah 86, Ariful Islam 38, Treveen Mathews 4/29, Shevon Daniel 2/21).