Mathews leads Sri Lanka to series sweep against Bangladesh

Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews plays a shot during the third One-Day International cricket match against Bangladesh. (AP)
Updated 01 August 2019

Mathews leads Sri Lanka to series sweep against Bangladesh

COLOMBO: Angelo Mathews scored 87 runs Wednesday to inspire Sri Lanka to their first One-Day International series sweep in more than three years, defeating Bangladesh by 122 runs in the third and final match.

Sri Lanka’s last sweep was a 2-0 series win at in Ireland in June 2016.

Choosing to bat after winning the toss, Sri Lanka made 294 for eight in 50 overs, riding on the innings of Mathews. He was well backed by Kusal Mendis who made 54. Captain Dimuth Karunaratne (46) and Kusal Perera (42) also made useful contributions.

Fast-medium bowler Soumya Sarkar took three for 56 while Shafiul Islam had three for 68 for Bangladesh.

Sarkar also shone with the bat, top scoring with 69 runs, but a dismal show from the other batsmen resulted in Bangladesh being dismissed for 172 runs with 14 overs to spare.

Dimuth Karunaratne and Avishka Fernando opened batting for Sri Lanka but their stand did not last long when Fernando, who top scored with 82 runs in the second match, was out for six runs, trapped LBW by seamer Shafiul Islam. Karunaratne and No. 3 batsman Kusal Perera shared 83 runs for the second wicket in 95 balls before Karunaratne (46) was caught by wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim trying to scoop left-arm spinet Tailjul Islam.

Perera departed soon caught behind by Rahim off pace bowler Rubel Hossain, leaving Sri Lanka 98 for three.

Mathews joined Mendis and the pair steadied the Sri Lankan innings sharing 101 runs for the fourth wicket off 121 balls. Mendis mistimed a slow ball from Sarkar and was caught near the boundary by Sabbir Rahman for 54 runs. That was his 16th ODI half-century.

Mathews made 87 runs in 90 balls including eight boundaries and a six. He made good dropped chances on 32 and 63 to reach his second successive half-century score in the series and the 40th of his career.

Sri Lanka scored 106 runs in the last 10 overs with Dasun Shanaka scoring 30 off 14 deliveries including two sixes and two boundaries.

Bangladesh started their chase poorly, losing captain Tamim Iqbal with just four runs on the board in the second over. Tamim, who had scored zero and 19 in the previous two matches of the series, departed for two runs caught behind by Perera off fast bowler Kasun Rajitha.

Anamul Haq and Sarkar added 25 runs for the second wicket before Anamul, who hit two consecutive fours against Rajitha, skied a third for a catch to Fernando.

In-form Mushfiqur Rahim, who made two half-centuries in the series including an unbeaten 98 in the second match, was out for 10 caught at slip by Mendis off seamer Shanaka.

With wickets falling regularly, Bangladesh was never in the game thereafter. Shanaka took three for 27 while Lahiru Kumara and Rajitha took two wickets apiece. 

The match was dedicated to Sri Lankan fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara, who has announced his retirement from international cricket.


Pakistan set to unleash 16-year-old Naseem Shah on Australia

Updated 20 November 2019

Pakistan set to unleash 16-year-old Naseem Shah on Australia

  • Naseem got plenty of attention in a tour game in Perth last week
  • Five former Pakistan players have made test debuts at a younger age than Naseem

BRISBANE, Australia: Sixteen-year-old Naseem Shah is ready to become the youngest test cricketer ever to play on Australian soil, with Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali confident the young paceman is among a group of bowlers who can help end a long winless streak Down Under.
Naseem, born on Feb. 15, 2003, got plenty of attention in a tour game in Perth last week not only because he tested the resolve of some experienced international batsmen, but also because it came soon after the death of his mother back in Pakistan.
Flight logistics and religious customs meant he couldn’t make it home in time for the funeral, so he stayed in Australia and skipped the first innings of the drawn tour game against Australia A before returning with a fiery eight overs in the second innings that netted 1-21, including the wicket of test opener Marcus Harris. It set him up for a test debut in the two-match test series.
“Obviously, it was a hard time for him but he coped with it and he came out and bowled the very next day, which is very heartening,” Azhar said Wednesday, on the eve of the first test at the Gabba. “We will definitely be looking to play him. He’s bowling really well.”
Azhar has played with Naseem at first-class level and thinks the young speedster has the fitness and the mental attitude to cope in the test arena. And he’s not concerned about the home team’s daunting record at the Gabba, where Australia is unbeaten since 1988.
“Not many players can reach (test) standard so early, but there are exceptions and he’s one of them,” Azhar said. “When I saw him first, I was so surprised. The control he had, the pace he had, and the temperament and the composure when he bowls is so exciting to see.”
Five former Pakistan players have made test debuts at a younger age than Naseem, including fast bowler Aaqib Javed, who was 16 years, 189 days when he played New Zealand in 1989, and Azhar said there’s no reason to hold players back based only on their age.
“The good thing about (Naseem) is he is very fit. I have no doubts about his fitness and his bowling skill,” Azhar said, reflecting his general confidence in a Pakistan team that is in a rebuilding phase and not expected to be overawed by Australia’s record at the Gabba. Pakistan hasn’t won a test series in Australia, and hasn’t won a test match here since 1995.
“We go in here with a lot of confidence. We have the talent to do well here. We’re very confident that if we execute our skills ... (we can) beat Australia. To do that, I think we have to keep believing and also play with no fear.”
Along with veteran paceman Mohammad Abbas, a pair of 19-year-old pacemen are also in selection calculations, with left-armer Shaheen Shah Afridi taking 12 wickets in his three tests to date and Muhammad Musa yet to make his debut.
While most of the selection focus has been on the fast bowlers, 33-year-old wrist spinner Yasir Shah is likely to play an influential role in the series. He struggled on his last tour to Australia in 2016, but returns with more than 200 test wickets and as a far better settled bowler.
The Australians will be playing a test series for the first time since retaining the Ashes in England, where opening batsman David Warner averaged just 9.5 in the series. He and Steve Smith were making their test match returns from one-year ban following a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018 and had contrasting series, with Smith topping the scoring and holding many innings together for Australia.
Warner will be combining with a recalled Joe Burns at the top of a reshuffled batting order, and Australia skipper Tim Paine is confident the veteran opener will be back in scoring form.
“Just watching him the last few days, he looks like he’s back to his best, the ball’s making a different sound off his bat again,” he said. “But the most pleasing thing about Davey was during the Ashes when he was in the worst form of his career he didn’t change a bit, and a lot of players would.
Paine said Mitchell Starc was back approaching top form and he expected the left-arm paceman to play a leading role against Pakistan after missing selection for all but one of the Ashes series tests in England.
Starc and fellow pacemen Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will join spinner Nathan Lyon in a pace attack containing plenty of success in local conditions.