The art of perseverance has its own merits. Skipper Angelo Mathews (74 not out off 103 balls) showed that in abundance to guide Sri Lanka to a three-wicket win over Bangladesh in the inconsequent last league match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Thursday.
The Lankan juggernaut rolled on as they recorded yet another victory. Ever since they landed in this country, they have won every match that came their way.
After wins in Tests, one-dayers and Twenty20, their unbeaten run stretched to Asia Cup. They won all the four matches to top the table. They now play for the cup against Pakistan on Saturday.
With their fourth successive defeat, hosts Bangladesh had the ignominy to finish at the bottom of the table, below new entrants Afghanistan. Today, on a slow wicket, Bangladesh could not defend a small total of 204. They were done in by the single-minded determination of Mathews who conquered the adverse conditions and situations to steer Lanka home.
With nothing much at stake, Lanka began the chase on a disastrous note. The first wicket fell in the second ball of the innings with Kusal Perera nicking to the wicketkeeper off Amin. But Bangladesh got the big wicket when Kumar Sangakkara, who is in terrific form, edged Al Amin and Nasir Hossain held the catch in the second attempt at slip. Mahela Jayawardene's lean form continued and this time he was run out to leave Sri Lanka reeling at 8 for 3 in 3.3 overs.
Left-hander Lahiru Thirimanne and Ashan Priyanjana had a partnership of 39 runs to take Lanka out of the early jitters.
But the tall Ziur Rahman produced a beauty to break the pair when he induced Priyanjana to edge to wicketkeeper.
Thirimanne was out to a good running catch by Rubel Hossain at long on for 33. There was a good 82 runs partnership between left-hander Chaturanga de Silva and Mathews. That swung the momentum in Lanka's favour at the end.
Earlier, Anamul Haque (49) and Shamsur Rahman (39) began strongly, putting on 74 runs for the opening wicket. But the advent of spinners stopped Bangladesh, who lost their way to be restricted to 204 for 9. The batsmen got good starts but failed to convert them to big scores. Ajantha Mendis foxed Rahman, trapping him in front, and then removed left-hander Mominul Haque (bowled). But it was the wicket of skipper Mushfiqur Rahim that hurt Bangladesh. He tried to put left-arm spinner Chaturanga de Silva away with an injudicious shot and invited trouble. He was lbw. Off spinner Priyanjan reduced Bangladesh to 119 for 5, dismissing Anamul and danger man Shakib Al Hasan. Left-hander Shakib was little subdued scoring a 39-ball 20. It was left to Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah to do the repair act.
They added 55 runs to take the score to 179. Medium pacer Suranga Lakmal dealt a double blow by sending back both Hossain and Mahmudullah in a space of two overs. Both made 30 apiece. Bangladesh finally had to settle for a much lower score.