Poor air quality in the Indian capital was expected to be the talking point on this day, but it was a historic dismissal that triggered animated conversations that would continue long after the World Cup is over.
Angelo Mathews became the first ever batter to be timed out in international cricket as he failed to be ready to face the ball within the required two minutes after the fall of a wicket.
There was, however, more to the match played before a big crowd at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Monday: a splendid hundred by Charith Asalanka who helped the Lankans post a competitive total of 279 after being put in, a superbly constructed third-wicket stand of 169 between Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan and Najmul Shanto and something of a redeeming act by Mathews, which, however, would not be enough.
Bangladesh won by three wickets with 8.5 overs to spare. After the loss of the openers Tanzid Hasan and Litton Das inside the PowerPlay, Shanto (90, 101b, 12x4) and Shakib (82, 65b, 12x4, 2x6) took the game away from the Lankans. They were both sent back by Mathews who didn’t forget to signal to Shakib that it was time to go.
If the Sri Lankan batting could recover from the horrors of the Wankhede, where it had been shot out for 55 by India, and then all the drama surrounding Mathews dismissal, that was largely due to Asalanka (108, 105b, 6x4, 5x6).
The islanders had lost Kusal Perera in the opening over itself, bowled by Shoriful Islam, as ’keeper Mushfiqur Rahim took a sensational catch in front of first slip fielder, diving acrobatically. The other opener Pathum Nissanka (41, 36b, 8x4) and skipper Kusal Mendis, however, ensured there was little likelihood of a repeat of the tragedy in Mumbai, as they added 61 for the second wicket.
But, Mendis fell to an excellent catch at long-on by Shoriful, and Nissanka was bowled off an inside edge by Tanzim Sakib. It was at this stage that Asalanka joined Sadeera Samarawickrama (41, 42b, 4x4), the team’s in-form batter.
The fourth-wicket stand was worth 63 when Samarawickrama fell and that was followed by the infamous Mathews dismissal. But Asalanka played some sparkling shots and held the innings together as he got to a well-earned second ODI hundred. But the Lankan total would still fall short.