Sri Lanka hold on in Pallekele

Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by 17 runs in their T20 fixture at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

<b>Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by 17 runs in their T20 fixture at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.</b>

Bangladesh, who fought valiantly throughout, were ultimately faced with too mammoth a task in what was an absorbing contest between the two countries.

The Sri Lankans, who had earlier indicated that 160 would be a competitive total, surpassed expectations when they amassed an imposing 198-5 in their allotted 20 overs. Kusal Perera spearheaded the Sri Lankan campaign, as he hit nine boundaries during his impressive innings of 64.

There were also contributions from the ever reliable Angelo Mathews, who finished on 30 not out, and Jeevan Mendis, who scored 37 in just 17 balls.

There were ominous signs for Bangladesh in the first over of this encounter, when Perera took opening bowler Shahadat Hossain to the proverbial cleaners. Perera hit two fours and a six in that over.

Rubel Hussain, Shahadat's opening partner received similar treatment in his first over, when was hit for ten runs. At this juncture, the Sri Lankans had made their intentions clear, as they raced to 25 runs.

A subsequent bowling change brought about the wicket of Dilshan Munaweera, however Banladesh still failed to stem the run flow.

As Perera continued to dominate the opposition bowling, Sri Lanka accumulated their first 50 runs before the end of the fifth over. Dinesh Chamdimal watched on in awe at the non-striker's end, while the opening batsman justified his selection to the national team.

When Chandimal departed in the ninth over, he had merely faced 13 balls for his nine, which perhaps puts Perera's brutal innings into perspective.

Lahiru Thirimanne then departed for just five runs, after he misjudged a run. Perera departed shortly after. However Matthews and Mendis restored stability and helped create a platform for a substantial total.

Seven overs into the Bangladesh innings, it had appeared that the contest was still on. The Tigers raced to 50 for the loss of just two wickets. However, the subsequent dismissal of Mohammad Ashraful, who had created a platform to get a big score proved critical. The talented batsman scored scored six boundaries en route to his 43.

He was followed to the shed by Nasir Hossain just two overs later, at which point the balance of power in this match started to shift heavily in Sri Lanka's favour.

Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah restored some stability to the innings, however, both batsman departed in quick succession, leaving the middle to lower order with too much to do.