Former Sri Lanka skipper Sanath Jayasuriya urged his countrymen to ‘fight to the last’ in order to salvage some pride and win the final ODI against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Friday.
Sri Lanka are on a three-match ODI tour to Bangladesh and things are looking grim for the islanders so far. Following the players’ kerfuffle with their board regarding signing new contract, Sri Lanka traveled with a rather inexperienced side, leaving a few key players out of the squad and under the new leadership of Kusal Perera.
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The Lankans have already lost the series 2-0, with the final game of the series yet to be played. Bangladesh, who came into the series on the back of nine losses and a drawn Test in their last 10 matches across formats, had ended their poor run of form with a 33-run victory in the first ODI while their 103-run thumping of the visitors in the second ODI on Tuesday helped the Tigers clinch their first-ever bilateral series against Sri Lanka.
And Jayasuriya, who has never lost a single game against Bangladesh across formats as a captain, found it difficult to fathom that his side are now being thrashed by the Tigers.
As a past player and captain it’s very difficult for me to come to terms with the first series loss to Bangladesh. National pride is at stake boys fight to the last; Sanath Jayasuriya (@Sanath07) May 26, 2021
“As a past player and captain it’s very difficult for me to come to terms with the first series loss to Bangladesh. National pride is at stake boys fight to the last,” tweeted the former left-handed opener on Wednesday.
Jayasuriya probably has reasons for taking this series defeat personally. During his playing time, the left-hander played the Tigers 28 times — 22 ODIs, five Tests and a sole T20I — and has tasted defeat only twice — in two ODIs in 2006 and in 2009 both playing away from home. And in the seven games — three Tests and four ODIs — that Jayasuriya led Sri Lanka against Bangladesh, the Lankans won convincingly every time.
Jayasuriya also remains second on the list of most runs scored by players among the two sides when playing against each other in ODIs. The former destructive left-hander has plundered 1030 runs at a staggering 54.21 average, including four hundreds and five fifties, in the 22 ODIs played against the Tigers. His teammate Kumar Sangakkara remains on top of that list, amassing 1206 runs at an average of 48.24 in 31 ODIs.
Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim, however, is the highest run-getter among the active players of the two sides playing against each other. Having played 32 ODIs, Mushfiqur, who has smashed a fifty and a match-winning hundred in the ongoing series, has scored 992 runs at an average of 34.20, featuring two hundreds and five fifties, against Sri Lanka.
Mushfiqur’s 144, scored during the Asia Cup against Sri Lanka in 2018, is also the wicketkeeper batsman’s career-best ODI score.