July 26 (AP) – The most fitting farewell for retiring paceman Lasith Malinga will be to win the series-opening limited-overs international against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne said Thursday.
The 35-year-old Malinga is retiring from one-day international cricket after the first game in the best-of-three series, which starts Friday.
“Mainly we want to focus about winning the match. That’s the best thing we can give for him … we will try to give him the best farewell in this first one-day,” Karunaratne said.
Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal said even though Malinga’s achievements and legacy are phenomenal, his lineup will play hard to prevent a Sri Lanka victory in the fast bowler’s last ODI.
“He has been great ambassador of the game. He is one cricketer that a lot of young children after watching him have started playing cricket,” Tamim said. “I still remember when he first came into the scene specially, back in Bangladesh people wanted to bowl like him.
“Even when we were playing Sri Lanka we used to find (a bowler) who has a similar action like Malinga and we used to call him for nets. That (is the) kind of an impact he has given to world cricket.”
Malinga has taken 335 wickets in 225 ODIs and has been one of the most distinctive fast bowlers in the game because of his slinging action and his accurate yorker.
He has three hat tricks in ODIs, including four wickets in consecutive deliveries in a World Cup game against South Africa in 2007.
Malinga will continue playing in the Twenty20 format.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have played in 45 one-day internationals, with Sri Lanka winning 36 matches against Bangladesh’s seven. However, Bangladesh has shown improvement over the past three years and could pose a tough challenge.
Tamim leads Bangladesh in the absence of injured captain Mashrafe Mortaza. All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and opener Liton Das have taken breaks.
Sri Lanka has named a 17-man squad for the three-match series.