Sangakkara, Murali lift Sri Lanka

Dhaka, January 16:

Kumar Sangakkara cracked 59 and Muttiah Muralitharan hammered 33 off 16 balls as Sri Lanka clinched a thrilling two-wicket win over Bangladesh in the tri-series final today.

Sri Lanka made a horror start when they lost five wickets for six runs before surpassing Bangladesh’s total of 152 with 11 balls to spare. Man-of-the-match Sangakkara kept his cool under pressure to mastermind his team’s win with his 44th half-century. He also added 63 runs for the seventh wicket with Farveez Maharoof, who remained unbeaten with 38.

Bangladesh had an opportunity to clinch their maiden tri-series involving a Test-playing nation when left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan removed Sangakkara and Nuwan Kulasekara in three balls to reduce Sri Lanka to 114-8. But Muralitharan shattered the hosts’ dream as he plundered 20 runs in an over from Rubel Hossain, including three fours and a six.

The Sri Lankan tail-ender ensured the victory when he smashed Hossain for a four and a six off successive balls in the bowler’s next over. Fast bowler Nazmul Hossain (3-30) was instrumental in putting Sri Lanka under pressure, grabbing three of the first five wickets. The tourists’ batting woes began with the first ball when Sanath Jayasuriya was run out following a mix-up with Upul Tharanga.

Sri Lanka’s bowlers earlier did a good job when they restricted the hosts to a modest total, with Nuwan Kulasekara (3-19) doing the early damage and Ajantha Mendis (3-24) striking in the closing overs. Raqibul Hasan top-scored with a fighting 43 not out. He also added 53 for the seventh wicket with Naeem Islam (21), the highest stand of the innings. Mohammad Mahmudullah was the other main run-getter with 26.