RETURN OF THE SLINGA
Lasith Malinga was not picked by Sri Lanka for a year as the board wanted him to prove himself in the domestic circuit. He did just that and yesterday showed that being a champion sportsman is like riding a bike.
He proved that in the very first over in sweltering conditions. Steaming in, he aimed the ball outside the right-hander's leg stump from his release point in front of the umpire's belly, and it swung enough to end up on off and middle. Liton Das lasted just three balls and was caught at slip off the fourth, and Shakib Al Hasan -- a left-hander for whom the ball must have seemed to swing twice -- was beaten all ends up to be bowled for just the fifth golden duck of his career.
SRI LANKA'S MIXED BAG OF FUTILITY
For the early part of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Mithun's 131-run fourth-wicket partnership Sri Lanka seemed unable to catch anything worth catching while every shy at the stumps seemed to result in a direct hit. In the fifth over Mithun, on one, chipped Malinga to mid one, where Angelo Mathews put in an athletic dive but the ball hit the wrong part of his palm and popped out. Mithun was then dropped at fine leg off an above waist height delivery that was called a no-ball. Mathews however was able to take the catch from a Mushfiqur slog off the next ball, but of course it was a free hit.
Then in the 10th over Sri Lanka missed the big one when Dilruwan Perera dropped Mushfiqur, on 10, off Thisara Perera at square leg. Later, there were two direct hits in the 18th and 24th overs but, carrying on the theme of futility, none resulted in any joy for Sri Lanka.
BALL BOY GETS MITHUN?
When Malinga returned in the 26th over, it was obvious that it was make or break for Bangladesh as Mushfiqur and Mithun had just constructed a 131-run stand. Malinga was not swinging it like he did in his first spell and Mithun played two balls off the middle of the bat. With Malinga running in for the third, a diminutive ball boy with his head just making it above the advertising board walked in front of the sightscreen and Mithun pulled out of his stance. The spell was broken, and Mithun swiped across the line to be caught off the next ball. It was a terrible shot in the circumstances, but Mithun might be checking to see if the ball boy was Sri Lankan all the same.