There are two roads that flank the Colombo Cricket Club ground — Maitland Place and Independence Avenue. Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza hit sixes into both thoroughfares during an astonishing 58 off 35 balls which included four fours and as many sixes, but the Tigers had left the surge too late as they lost the warm-up match against the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI by just two runs, ending the 50 overs on 352 for eight in response to 354 for seven.
While the bowling disappointed, there was some good news in the batting department as Mahmudullah Riyad brushed aside his exclusion from the country’s historic Test and held the lower-middle order together with an unbeaten 71 from 68 balls with four boundaries and a six.
Mashrafe and Riyad came together with Bangladesh needing 116 runs off 71 balls, and when Mashrafe holed out to long on off Lahiru Madushanka, the equation had come down to 15 off nine with two wickets in hand.
Riyad, in the company of Mohammad Saifuddin, tried his best to take the team home and after a wide in the last over, which started with Thisara Perera trying to defend 13. Riyad was on strike with eight to win off two balls and a miracle finish was on the cards when he square drove a boundary past point, leaving the visitors with four to win, but he could only hit the last ball to the midwicket fielder for a single.
Against a side that contains four players — Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera, Sachith Pathirana and Dhanajaya de Silva — in the Sri Lanka ODI squad for the three-match series starting in Dambulla on Saturday, Bangladesh’s chase got off to the worst possible start when opener Imrul Kayes was out for his second first-ball duck in a row — after his dismissal on the fifth day of the second Test — when he edged Binura Fernando to the keeper. There was then a 116-run partnership between Soumya Sarkar (47 off 43) and Sabbir Rahman (72 off 63 with 11 fours and a six), but both holed out to long on off the spinners. Mosaddek Hossain chimed in with a classy 50-ball 53.
“Overall we had a good practice match. Wicket was good for batting. 350 was a chaseable target on this pitch. We wanted to have the experience of chasing. Although we lost the match, we gave a good fight and we played well,” said Sabbir after the match.
“This was what we were hoping for from him [Riyad],” said Sabbir when asked about Riyad’s innings. “He is a big player, a match-winning player and we hope for some big innings from him in the coming games.”
Earlier, Bangladesh’s bowlers were put to the sword in stunning fashion by the Board President’s XI as they piled on 354 for seven in 50 overs. It was not as if the monumental score owed much to a late surge of sixes and fours as the last 10 overs produced 75 runs.
The SLBPXI sustained a high run rate throughout the innings, and although frontline bowlers Mustafizur Rahman and Shakib Al Hasan were not playing, that is a concern for a Bangladesh team heading into a venue where they conceded their second-highest ODI total – Pakistan’s 385 for seven in the 2010 Asia Cup.
Eight out of the nine batsmen who batted in the first innings after Bangladesh won the toss reached double figures with the highest score being Sandun Weerakkody’s 67 off 54 and the lowest being Dasun Shanaka’s unbeaten 26 off 12. Kusal Perera, a left-hander who plays in the style of the legendary Jayasuriya, retired after scoring 64 off 78 balls.
If clues were needed about selecting the squad for the ODI 11, uncapped left-arm spinner Sunzamul Islam was the only bowler who conceded less than five runs an over with figures of one for 27 from six overs. In that same vein, off-spinning all-rounder Shuvagata Hom was the only bowler who bowled the full quota of 10 overs.
First-choice fast bowler Taskin Ahmed was clobbered to all parts as he conceded 52 runs from his six overs for the leg-before dismissal of Dilshan Munaweera. Rubel Hossain too was expensive, conceding 57 runs without success in his seven overs. Rookie Mohammad Saifuddin and former national quick Abul Hasan, who came to Sri Lanka for this practice match, bowled five overs each and had figures of one for 35 and one for 36 respectively.