Sri Lanka survive Jaker Ali scare to seal thriller and go 1-0 up

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Sri Lanka 206 for 3 (Samarawickrama 61*, Kusal Mendis 59) beat Bangladesh 203 for 8 (Jaker 68, Mahmudullah 54, Mathews 2-17) by three runs

It all came down to the last over in Sylhet. Chasing 207, Bangladesh needed 12, with the rampaging Jaker Ali at the non-striker’s end, but Dasun Shanaka nailed his lines and lengths to help Sri Lanka snatch a three-run win in the first T20I in Sylhet.

By the time Jaker got on strike, Shanaka had only nine more runs to defend and four balls still to bowl. But he held his nerve to go full on off; Jaker looked to get under the ball but it took the bottom of the bat and Asalanka, at long-off, judged a low catch to his left to perfection.

Still, it was not done, as Bangladesh’s No. 10 Shoriful Islam slammed his first ball over extra cover, and took a leg-bye off the penultimate ball. That left Taskin Ahmed needing to hit a four to tie and six to win, but he could manage neither. The Sri Lanka fielders started celebrating as soon as Taskin toe-ended another wide, full ball from Shanaka, managing just a single.

But the seeds for this win were sown much earlier, by Sri Lanka’s batters. They reached 206 for 3 despite missing regular captain Wanindu Hasaranga – serving his suspension for an outburst against the umpires – Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Perera. Instead it was Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama who struck brisk fifties and stand-in captain Charith Asalanka who teed off at the death to produce the most impactful knock of the night. He struck six sixes in his 21-ball, unbeaten 44.



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