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Match Preview – Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka tour of Bangladesh 2021, 3rd ODI




Sri Lanka’s top order have lacked runs, while Bangladesh’s bowlers have hunted in a pack

Big Picture

Although they are 2-0 up and have sealed the series, Bangladesh will not allow themselves to relax in the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Dhaka. The home team has just got out of a ten-match winless streak and there remain many areas to still get right, with bigger challenges coming up later in the year. The same, if not more, applies for Sri Lanka. It has so far been a tough few days for the visitors who, after enduring a Covid-19 scare, went down in both ODIs quite easily.

Sri Lanka’s biggest headache on this tour has been the lack of runs from their recognised batters. Wanindu Hasaranga is their highest run-getter with 80 runs, including a half-century in the first game. But those runs were made from No. 8, with Sri Lanka’s top seven yet to register a half-century across both matches.

But as much as there has been criticism of their selection policy to drop some of their experienced players from the squad, the likes of Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva have been around for long enough to carry a batting line-up. Pathum Nissanka, Ashen Bandara and Dasun Shanaka are relatively new, but they all possess the ability to play spin.

What should have heartened the team must be their bowling and fielding in these two matches. Dushmantha Chameera and Lakshan Sandakan have been among the wickets, while Hasaranga has bowled some accurate legspin too. Sri Lanka have had Bangladesh on the ropes a few times, but the home side has fought back from situations like 99 for 4 in the first ODI, and 15 for 2, 74 for 4, and 184 for 7 in the second to eventually post match-winning totals.
This is where the experienced Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah have made the difference between the two teams. Whenever they have faced trouble, one of the three has stood up with the bat. While Rahim has made 209 runs in the two matches, equally important have been his partnerships of 109 and 87 with Mahmudullah from difficult positions.

The lack of runs from the likes of Liton Das and Afif Hossain could be a worry though. Mohammad Mithun and Mosaddek Hossain have got a match each, but on the whole, there has been an over-reliance on the senior batters, who may not always manage to score at a higher rate in every phase of the innings.

Bangladesh’s bowling, though, has really come forth in difficult times. Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mustafizur Rahman have been great support acts to Shakib Al Hasan, while youngster Shoriful Islam didn’t look out of place either on his ODI debut in the last game.

Form guide

(Last five completed matches, most recent first)

Bangladesh WWLLL
Sri Lanka LLLLL

In the spotlight

Mehidy Hasan Miraz is now the second-best bowler in the ICC ODI bowlers’ rankings, having picked up seven wickets in the two matches. He has taken control of Sri Lanka’s middle overs while using a fine mix of flight, spin and accurate length.

Dushmantha Chameera bowled a superb first over in the second ODI, removing both Tamim and Shakib in the space of four balls. And though Sri Lanka couldn’t take advantage of it, Chameera has come off as one of the highlights for the visitors on this tour.

Team news

Mohammad Naim‘s inclusion in the squad suggests that the team management must be seriously considering Das’ spot. Soumya Sarkar and Mahedi Hasan are the others who remain unused in the squad so far. A decision on the availability of Mohammad Saifuddin will be taken on match day. The allrounder had suffered a blow to his head during the second ODI, but was cleared of anything serious.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 2 Liton Das/Mohammad Naim, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5
Mosaddek Hossain, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Afif Hossain, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Taskin Ahmed, 10 Shoriful Islam, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Niroshan Dickwella could replace Ashen Bandara to beef up Sri Lanka’s middle order. Although allrounder Ramesh Mendis and Akila Dananjaya are also in the squad as spin-bowling options, it is the team’s batting that needs more attention.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Danushka Gunathilaka, 2 Kusal Perera (capt), 3 Pathum Nissanka, 4 Kusal Mendis, 5 Dhananjaya de Silva, 6 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 7 Dasun Shanaka, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Isuru Udana, 10 Lakshan Sandakan, 11 Dushmantha Chameera

Pitch and conditions

Bangladesh chose to bat first in both matches as the pitches appeared two-paced, thus hardly encouraging big-hitting. The pitches also seemed to get slower as the game progressed, and it is unlikely to be too different in the third ODI. The weather forecast is mostly for clear conditions in Dhaka.

Stats and trivia

  • Shakib needs one wicket to become the highest wicket-taker for Bangladesh in ODIs. But he needs two more to overtake Mashrafe Mortaza as the one with the most wickets from his country in the format, as Mortaza took 269 for Bangladesh and one for Asia XI against Africa XI in 2007.
  • When he reached 115 in the second ODI, Rahim became the fourth cricketer to cross 6000 ODI runs as a wicketkeeper. Kumar Sangakkara, MS Dhoni and Adam Gilchrist are those above him.
  • Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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    Australia in Bangladesh 2021 – Australia set to tour Bangladesh for five T20Is in August




    This will be Australia’s first tour to Bangladesh since 2017

    The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have confirmed that Australia will arrive in Dhaka on July 29 to play five T20Is against Bangladesh, from August 3 to 9. Australia will comply with local health regulations by being quarantined in their hotel rooms for three days before they begin training at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, where they will play all five matches.

    “The BCB and Cricket Australia have worked tirelessly together for confirming the itinerary,” BCB’s chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said. “Naturally this was a challenge due to the Covid-19 pandemic as ensuring health safety and security is a priority prerequisite for holding any cricket series in these times. I am pleased to say that a comprehensive bio-security plan is in place and will be implemented during the tour for the protection of players and staff of the two teams and the match officials.”

    BCB and Cricket Australia (CA) have reportedly agreed on extensive pandemic protocols that include a 10-day quarantine, which started earlier this week. Both teams will count their current bio-bubble measures on their respective tours as part of the quarantine. Match officials have already been isolated while the Bangladesh T20I team currently in Zimbabwe will go straight to the team hotel in Dhaka upon arrival. Bangladesh’s T20I series against Zimbabwe was also brought forward by a couple of days.

    The major protocols for this tour include Australia’s immigration process conducted separately after CA expressed reservations about exposing their touring party in a hall room inside the airport. After they go through the VIP entry and into the team bus, their passports will be processed separately.

    The team hotel will be completely off-limits to the public during the tour, which is reportedly a tighter plan than the BCB’s bio-bubbles for West Indies and Sri Lanka. The scheduling of the series has been at the CA’s request: to be held at one venue over a short window.

    Bangladesh, in the midst of a second wave of Covid-19, reported 173 deaths on Wednesday, taking the tally to 18,498 since March this year, according to the Directorate General of Health Services. According to the official data, the Covid-19 fatality rate in Bangladesh is now 1.63 percent and the current recovery rate is 84.56 percent.

    Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood said on Thursday that they are familiar with the limitations of their movement on tours.

    “We’ve had a few meetings about what it’s going to look like in Bangladesh and it’s obviously going to be quite tight restrictions and within the bubble,” Hazlewood said. “I think it’s purely going to be either at the hotel or at the cricket ground, which we’ve done before and we’re used to. It’s quite a short trip as well, which is good, so I think it’ll be no dramas, we’ll get that done on the back end of this tour.”

    This is Australia’s first tour to Bangladesh since their 2017 visit to play two Tests in Dhaka and Chattogram. They had cancelled their 2015 and 2016 (Under-19 World Cup) visits due to security concerns.

    Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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    India in England 2021 – Rishabh Pant returns to India camp after recovering from Covid-19




    It would appear, meanwhile, that the injured Shubman Gill is now back in India

    Rishabh Pant has joined the India squad after recovering from Covid-19 and completing his mandatory period of isolation. Pant tested positive on July 8, and had not travelled with the rest of the team to Durham, where the Indians are playing a three-day warm-up match against a County Select XI ahead of the five-match Test series against England, which begins on August 4 in Nottingham.

    On Thursday, the BCCI put out a tweet welcoming Pant back into the India contingent.

    Pant’s mandatory isolation period of ten days, as prescribed by Public Health England, was set to end on July 18, subject to clearing two Covid-19 tests. He did not join the India camp immediately upon the end of his quarantine, however, and KL Rahul took the wicketkeeping gloves in his stead in the match against the County Select XI.

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    The Hundred 2021 – Kate Cross




    Dane van Niekerk, meanwhile, was thrilled by “the biggest crowd that I’ve played in front of at The Oval”

    Players were “buzzing” after soaking up an “electric” atmosphere and making history on the opening night of the Hundred.

    The Oval Invincibles won by five wickets with two balls to spare on the back of an unbeaten fifty by their captain Dane van Niekerk, but even Kate Cross, her opposite number on the losing Manchester Originals side, felt like she’d won something.

    And she had. Winner of the first toss, choosing to bat despite thinking for months leading up to the game that she would field first in an attempt to settle inevitable nerves by allowing her side to absorb the occasion together on the field.

    Striker of the first six, stepping down the pitch to slap Danielle Gregory over long-on, a look of sheer delight spreading across her face before she’d even finished her swing. She also cheerfully owned up to bowling the first front-foot no-ball.

    “First” stats lose meaning when they are part and parcel of playing the first match of the first tournament of its kind. But most meaningful to Cross was the slice of history she, her team, and the opposition for that matter were part of.

    “It feels like a win,” Cross said. “I don’t feel like we’ve lost that game of cricket. It’s a strange feeling but I just can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it.

    “There’s a lot of learning while we’re out there but I said to the girls, tonight my biggest thing was first and foremost, enjoy everything. Enjoy the crowd, enjoy the occasion because we’ve made history. Regardless of the result. I said that’s irrelevant, we’re history makers.

    “Let’s be honest, we were the guinea pigs. No one knew what tonight was going to look like and I’m so glad for the tournament, I’m so glad for everyone that’s worked so hard behind the scenes… they got the night they wanted and hopefully people enjoyed it.”

    Cross had an excellent night, scoring 12 off just four balls, claiming three wickets with her first seven deliveries and leading her side with distinction.

    The crowd of 7395 was well below The Oval’s capacity of 28,000, and while it didn’t feel massive, it felt highly respectable. The atmosphere began as interested anticipation, grew quickly into enthusiasm once the match got underway, and as the home side neared their target of 136 the place was jumping.

    “Honestly, I don’t think I could come off a cricket pitch and be more pleased with a loss,” Cross said. “Genuinely it was the most electric atmosphere, I’ve never played in front of a crowd like that before.

    “A new tournament with new rules, a lot of nerves around the group, a lot of unknowns, I couldn’t be prouder of the girls, I couldn’t be prouder of our performance.

    “It was just an amazing night for women’s cricket, it felt like it was almost a perfect night for what the tournament needed to open. I’m absolutely buzzing, I don’t think I’m going to get to sleep tonight.”

    For van Niekerk, the win clearly meant something too. As she edged Cross to the rope at deep third to seal victory, she stretched her arms wide in triumph.

    “I was just really happy that that the first match of the Hundred was so entertaining,” van Niekerk said. “A bit more stressful than we wanted it to be but it was nice to give the crowd something to watch and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves.

    “It was electric, it was incredible. The crowd carried us at the back end.”

    The trick for Hundred’s organisers will be maintaining that warm afterglow.

    “I hope that people come out every single game like that and enjoy this tournament, it’s really entertaining,” van Niekerk said. “I played for Surrey Stars for two years and it was definitely the biggest crowd that I’ve played in front of at The Oval and it showed that people are interested in this tournament.

    “I hope that the people saw that it’s still cricket, it’s just a little bit shorter and a little bit faster, but the skill is still up there, it’s still exciting. A hundred balls is a hundred balls but it’s still cricket and I hope everyone was entertained as much as we were.”

    As a standalone contest, this match was keenly fought, high quality and entirely watchable. You can bet the men will set out to be at least as competitive and entertaining when they begin their tournament with the corresponding teams meeting at The Oval on Saturday night.

    Whether the Hundred is enough of a twist on the game already loved by many to attract new fans, whether it differs from T20 sufficiently to last long-term, and whether it will harm other formats as much as some fear, no one knows. But at least it’s started with a bit of a buzz.

    Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo

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