Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka: Taskin's just reward
12:00 AM, March 30, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:38 AM, March 30, 2017

Taskin's just reward

It was not the best bowling performance from Bangladesh, flat wicket notwithstanding, as Sri Lanka scored 311 all out in the second ODI in Dambulla on Tuesday, a match that was eventually abandoned because of rain after Sri Lanka's innings.

The story of the day may have been Taskin Ahmed's hattrick to end Sri Lanka's innings one ball shy of the full 50 overs, but his contributions earlier in the day were just as important to Bangladesh keeping the score well below 350.

Taskin's ODI stats make for good reading -- an average of 26.52 for a fast bowler bowling mostly on subcontinent pitches is not something to sneeze at -- but he has often been susceptible to batsmen going after him, which is evidenced by the fact that he has had an economy rate of six or higher in 12 of the 25 innings he has bowled in since his ODI debut in June 2014.

On Tuesday, however, when Kusal Mendis and Upul Tharanga were going great guns, he was the one who pulled things back with a first spell of five overs that conceded just 19 runs.

He conceded just one boundary in that spell, and being Bangladesh's fastest bowler, he repeatedly pegged the duo back with well-directed bouncers that they had no choice but to sway out of the way of.

His hattrick may not have been one of the best you will see in ODIs -- the first two wickets of Asela Gunaratne and Suranga Lakmal were off slogs, with the second one being off a full toss -- but it was reward richly deserved for what went on before.

When the last 15 overs started Sri Lanka were sitting pretty on 203 for two, but Taskin's next three overs conceding just 23 runs for the crucial wicket of Mendis was a big reason for Bangladesh pulling it back.

And having done the hard work before the last over of the innings, Taskin said he was visualising something like what eventually happened.

"I was imagining all of this while I was fielding in the previous over. By the grace of Allah, it all transpired like I had planned," said Taskin while speaking to reporters in Dambulla before the team departed for Colombo yesterday morning. "I missed a lot of hattrick chances but this time I was relaxed before the hattrick ball. It just felt right, that I would get it this time. And it happened."

Even though the first two wickets may have owed as much to mishits as bowling skill, the hattrick ball -- a full and fast delivery that homed in on Nuwan Pradeep's middle stump -- was top notch in the circumstances and a delivery that he described as the best of his career.

"It was a big achievement to get an international hattrick. I would have felt better had the match continued, and we went on to win it," said Taskin. "The main target is to win the series. Wicket is a lot about luck. The hattrick ball was a yorker which could have taken an under-edge and gone for four. I got lucky."

He may have gotten lucky, but he certainly earned his slice of fortune on Tuesday.

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