Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe look to get back on track

Zimbabwe are looking to bounce back after they were beaten comprehensively by hosts Bangladesh in the opening game of the tri-series in Dhaka.

They take on Sri Lanka in match two and will hope the fine form of Sikandar Raza, who made a battling 52 and took two wickets, can help inspire a revival.

Zimbabwe were behind from the start against Bangladesh as their top order failed to fire, with opener Solomon Mire and No.3 Craig Ervine both dismissed for ducks inside the first three deliveries of the day.

From that horror start, they were never really in the contest. At least the only way is up for Graeme Cremer’s side, who have recently welcomed back Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis after their stints in English county cricket. The pacy Jarvis bowled neatly, going for 15 off his four overs, but conditions favoured the spinners and Zimbabwe might consider opening with one as the tri-series wears on.

They will no doubt be looking forward to matching up against Sri Lanka, the team they shocked with a 3-2 ODI series win last July.

Sri Lanka, placed two places above Zimbabwe in eighth in the ICC ODI team rankings at present, have undergone significant upheaval in recent months.

Angelo Mathews resigned the captaincy in all forms following that series defeat to Zimbabwe, with Dinesh Chandmial replacing him in Tests and Upal Tharanga stepping up in limited-overs cricket. However, a run of 10 consecutive defeats saw Tharanga replaced by Thisal Perera for the series in India last month. Due to injuries, Chamara Kapugedara and Lasith Malinga also captained the ODI side during 2017.

Both Mathews and Chandimal were then said to be in the frame for the captaincy ahead of the Bangladesh tour but 30-year-old Mathews has agreed to take on the role again just a matter a months after his resignation, and will lead the side throughout the tri-series.

It will be familiar ground for Sri Lanka’s new coach, former Sri Lanka player Chandika Hathurusingha, who took over the job in December after resigning as Bangladesh coach, a role he held from 2014.

The players will be looking to avenge Zimbabwe and the coach will be keen to get one over on his former charges in their backyard. Sri Lanka have plenty of motivation, and just possibly, the makings of a little more stability as teams build towards the 2019 ICC World Cup.

Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, match two in the Bangladesh ODI tri-series begins on Wednesday.