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Bangladesh, Sri Lanka ready for ODI battle

1st ODI threatened by rain

Staff Correspondent

Sri Lankan cricketers Sachithra Senanayake (L) and Ajantha Mendis take shelter under an umbrella amidst drizzle at Mirpur on Sunday ahead of the first one-day international against Bangladesh today. — Sourav Loskar Sri Lankan cricketers Sachithra Senanayake (L) and Ajantha Mendis take shelter under an umbrella amidst drizzle at Mirpur on Sunday ahead of the first one-day international against Bangladesh today. — Sourav Loskar

Incessant rain and a soggy outfield threatened to mar the first of three one-day internationals between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, scheduled to start at 1:00pm at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium today.
Rain, caused by a depression, already caused severe damage to the outfield of the venue, leaving the prospect of the day-night 50-over game uncertain.
The weather is unlikely to improve significantly today, said Dhaka Meteorological Department, indicating a curtailed match, which is expected to make the contest trickier for both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The visitors may have taken the honour in the preceding Test and Twenty20 series, but Bangladesh have no short of confidence given their recent performance in limited-over formats, especially in one-dayers.
Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka by three wickets in a similar situation in their last one-dayer at Pallekele, a result which also helped them to draw a bilateral series against the Islanders for the first time in their history.
However, the Tigers do not need to look that behind for inspiration as they have had many positives to take from the ongoing series.
They fought till the end in both the T20 matches, something they have hardly done against top teams in this format.
Sri Lanka’s status as the top T20 team of the world made their performance more significant despite the hosts’ twin defeats.
With a little bit of luck they could have won both the games, especially the first match where they were in control most of the time.  
The fighting spirit in T20s and the consistency displayed in recent one-dayers have encouraged Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who has returned to charge having missed the T20 matches due to a finger injury.
‘We are playing very good cricket for the last one-and-a-half year in home conditions,’ Mushfiq told reporters on Sunday. ‘I think the tradition which we developed at home; it indicates that we can beat any side here.
‘Sri Lanka are strong opponents. So we hope it will be a good contest and a competitive series.’
Mushfiq indicated that Bangladesh might go into the match with three pace bowlers as conditions are likely to remain overcast during the day-night contest.
The Tigers have loaded their squad with four pacemen and among them Mashrafee bin Murtaza and Rubel Hossain are almost certain to play barring any last-minute injury.
Al Amin Hossain and fit-again Shafiul Islam will vie for the remaining slot should Bangladesh decide to field three quicks. Otherwise it will be a straightforward competition between Sohag Gazi and Mahmudullah, the two off-spinning all-rounders.
If Bangladesh take only either of them, it is also certain left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny will make his one-day debut after an impressive performance in the T20s.
Sri Lanka, however, have little selection dilemmas, particularly in the spin department with Sacithra Senanayake and Ajantha Mendis both expected to play. 
The Lankans though will miss the services of their left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who was named in the original one-day squad before being withdrawn due to injury.
The visitors’ captain, Angelo Mathews, however, said he is happy with Mendis and Senanayake as they have proved to be effective one-day players in the past. 
‘Mendis has played a lot of games and also Sachithra,’ said Mathews. ‘They are two of the best spinners that Sri Lanka have. Rangana hasn’t played too many ODIs. Sachithra and Mendis have been playing, so they have got plenty of experience.




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