India and Sri Lanka, who were playing against each other only a few days back in Australia and trying to qualify for the tri-series final, will now clash to win points to get through to the finals of the Asia Cup.
Pakistan have begun well by holding their nerve against a spirited Bangladesh team, and that match is just the sort of tough game that is needed when tackling even tougher opposition than the hosts.
Bangladesh will be disappointed that they couldn't wrap up the Pakistan innings when they had them on the ropes, and the 35 runs that Umar Gul smashed in the last three overs made the difference between winning and losing for the home team.
It is here that they need to harden up and the manner in which their heads dropped when their experienced bowler, Mashrafe Mortaza was being hit, indicated that Bangladesh still have a problem with temperament and not with talent.
The manner in which their bowlers bowled and the way they fielded was terrific and when the openers began well and gave them a solid platform, it appeared that Bangladesh would spring the first surprise of the tournament.
The well fought encounter has given the Asia Cup just the boost that it needed. Since the Cup is being held at the fag end of the season in the sub-continent, it may not have the same energy that a tournament has at the beginning of the season, but make no mistake winning the Cup is a big plus for the teams since it gives them bragging rights as the best team in Asia for two years at least.
India, the current world champions, will want to be the champs in Asia too, and that would to some extent at least cover for the disappointments of the past one year where they have lost badly in England and Australia.
They have travelled to Dhaka without Sehwag and Zaheer, who, we are told have been rested, but from what is not clear. India don't have an international after the Asia Cup till September, so what are the two stalwarts being rested from? It would have been better to say that they were injured.
Both were palpably short of their best in the tri-series in Australia. Sri Lanka, too have their injuries and they are without Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera, who are game turners and would have been ideal for this format of the game.
Sri Lanka are brimming with confidence after their show in Australia, while India smarting from their losses will look to turn the tide around. Sri Lanka definitely start as the favourites to win the Cup, and if they have recovered from the long journey from Australia, then they could well begin this campaign too on a winning note.
Professional Management Group