Fast bowler Lasith Malinga said goodbye to one-day cricket in style as his devastating opening spell helped Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by 91 runs on Friday.
Malinga, known for his blond-tinted hair and the distinctive slingshot action, received a guard of honour from his team mates at the start of the second innings at a packed R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
The 35-year-old did not disappoint his fans as he produced an inswinging yorker to remove Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal with just his fifth ball of the innings.
Nuwan Pradeep trapped Mohammad Mithun leg-before before another trademark yorker from Malinga ripped through the defence of Soumya Sarka, leaving Bangladesh’s middle order exposed at 30-3 while chasing a mammoth target of 315.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim and Sabbir Rahman scored combative fifties but Pradeep and off-spinner Dhananjaya de Silva picked wickets at regular intervals wrestle back the momentum in Sri Lanka’s favour.
In his final over, Malinga dismissed tailender Mustafizur Rahman with a slower ball as Sri Lanka bowled out Bangladesh for 223 and took 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
“I think it’s the correct time to retire,” said Malinga, who finished as the pick of the bowlers with 3-38.
“I’ve played last 15 years for Sri Lanka. I feel it’s the right time to move (on) because we have to look forward to 2023 (World Cup).
“The captain expected me to take a wicket throughout my career... I tried my best that’s why I succeeded. You have to be yourself.”
Malinga finished with 338 wickets from 226 ODIs for Sri Lanka, the third highest for the island country behind Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas.
The paceman quit test cricket in 2010 and had previously said he would retire from international cricket following next year’s World Twenty20 in Australia.
While the pace has dropped over the years, the former captain was still Sri Lanka’s most successful bowler at the recent World Cup in England with 13 wickets from seven outings. He is third in the list of most successful bowlers in the history of the World Cup with 56 scalps.
He has also taken three ODI hat-tricks and is the only player to have achieved the milestone twice during a World Cup.