Asia Cup: SL beats Bangladesh

Half-centuries by Charith Asalanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama guided Sri Lanka to a hard-fought five-wicket win over Bangladesh in their Asia Cup 2023 campaign opener at Kandy on Thursday. Chasing 165, Sri Lanka were off to a poor start as Dimuth Karunaratne (1) was cleaned up by Taskin Ahmed in the third over while Shoriful Islam sent back Pathum Nissanka for 14. Sri Lanka were 15/2 in 3.3 overs. Kusal Mendis, the wicketkeeper-batter joined forces with Sadeera Samarawickrama to rebuild Lanka’s innings. Their short, 28-run partnership came to an end when skipper Shakib al Hasan cleaned up Mendis for 5. The hosts were 43/3 in 9.2 overs. At the end of the first powerplay, Sri Lanka were 44/3, with Sadeera (19*) and Charith Asalanka (0*) unbeaten. They reached 50-run mark in 12 overs. Sadeera and Asalanka upped the attack on Bangladesh bowlers, with the former taking the lead. The team touched 100-run mark in 21.5 overs. Sadeera reached his half-century in 59 balls and it comprised six boundaries. Mahedi Hasan ended the partnership at 78 runs, dismissing Sadeera for 54 (77 ball) after the keeper Rahim caught him. Shakib brought some more life into the game, dismissing Dhananjaya for just two in the next over and reducing Sri Lanka to 128/5 in 31 overs. Asalanka reached his half-century in 85 balls with the help of four boundaries. A boundary from skipper Dasun Shanaka helped SL reach the 150-run mark in 36.5 overs. Asalanka hit the winning four in the 39th over, guiding his team to a five-wicket win. Shakib al Hasan was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2/29 in his 10 overs. Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Mehadi Hasan took a wicket each. Earlier, fiery bowling spells by pacer Mateesha Pathirana and spinner Maheesh Theekshana reduced Bangladesh to 164 all out in 42.4 overs. Electing to bat first, Bangladesh lost their first wicket in the second over when Maheesh Theekshana trapped Tanzid Hasan lbw for zero. Bangladesh was 4/1. However, the troubles of visitors did n