Dasun Shanaka bowled an eight-run, two-wicket last over for Sri Lanka to beat Bangladesh by three runs in a thrilling Twenty20 series opener on Monday.

Sri Lanka posted a respectable 206-3 before debutant Jaker Ali gave Bangladesh a great chance at victory until he got out in the tense last over for 68 with 10 runs needed and three balls left. Bangladesh was stranded on 203-8.

Sri Lanka’s total was platformed by Sadeera Samarawickrama’s unbeaten 61 off 48 balls and opener Kusal Mendis’ 36-ball 59. Stand-in captain Charith Asalanka hammered a 21-ball 44 not out with six sixes to take the side past 200.

Bangladesh pacer Shoriful Islam dismissed Avishka Fernando for 4 with the second ball of the day and Taskin Ahmed removed Kamindu Mendis for 19, leaving Sri Lanka at 37-2.

Samarawickrama and Kusal Mendis combined for a 96-run partnership for the third wicket.

Rishad Hossain made the breakthrough by snagging the wicket of Mendis, who smote six fours and three sixes, but Asalanka’s six-laden knock gave Sri Lanka a competitive total.

He and Samarawickrama added 72 off just 32 balls to end the innings on a high.

Bangladesh was reduced to 30-3 in the fifth over after Angelo Mathews took two wickets.

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When fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana dismissed captain Najmul Hossain Shanto, who made 20 off 22, Bangladesh’s hopes were fading at 68-4.

Veteran Mahmudullah, playing his first T20 in two years, counterattacked to bring the side back into the contest. He and Jaker added 47 runs for the fifth wicket before Maheesh Theekshana got the better of Mahmudullah after he scored 54 off 31 with two fours and four sixes.

Jaker, who was initially shaky, then played the anchor. He single-handedly led the side to the brink with four fours and six sixes before Shanaka’s brilliance denied Bangladesh the victory.

The second match of three is on Wednesday.


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