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Bangladesh Set To Add Icing on Centenary Cake

  • Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh Second Test – P Sara Stadium

Bangladesh played themselves into a great position to secure a rare overseas win in their 100th test and add some welcome icing onto their centenary celebration cake.

When play ended on day four after an absorbing battle between bat and ball, the visitors still held the edge in the game which had see-sawed right throughout the last four days.

Hosts, Sri Lanka stretched their lead to 139 runs thanks largely to a gritty rearguard effort from opener Dimuth Karunaratne (126).  But the hosts will know that they need a lead of at least 200 to stay in the game.

The day ended amid some confusion after umpire Aleem Dar first seemed to nod yes to an appeal, by Bangladesh believing Suranga Lakmal had got a faint inside edge to short leg off the last ball for the day. Replays however did not show any edge and so the drama ended there.

That Bangladesh made inroads was because the attack was led astutely by Shakib Al Hasan, who took three wickets including that of Karunaratne in the final session for 126. Having removed Asela Gunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella earlier, he finished the day with three for 61 after 30 overs of accurate left-arm spin.

Yet the man instrumental for breaking Sri Lanka’s back was Mustafizur Rahman after the hosts looked steady the first session despite losing Upul Tharanga in the day’s second over to Mehedi Hasan. Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis weathered the early burst and had added 86, large parts of it being accrued before lunch.

Mendis, who made 36, was first given an early reprieve on 12 when Imrul Kayes couldn’t hold on to a sharp chance at short leg. Then he was nearly run out on 28 after a mix-up with Karunaratne, but Sabbir Rahman’s throw from cover missed the stumps at the bowler’s end. Sri Lanka had wiped out the deficit and were ahead by eight at stumps, looking a lot more comfortable, but all that was to soon change.

Mustafizur first dismissed Mendis in controversial fashion after replays didn’t quite suggest if he nicked to the wicketkeeper. Dhananjaya de Silva and first-innings centurion Dinesh Chandimal were then out chasing wide deliveries after being starved of width for most parts of their short stay.

Even as Sri Lanka collapsed in the middle session, losing five wickets for 62 runs in 26 overs, Karunaratne battled on to reach his fifth Test century. He found an ally in Dilruwan Perera, who fought with him during the course of 22.2 overs in which they added 27. The gallant fight ended when Shakib had Karunaratne caught at slip for 126, an effort that took him 244 balls and included 10 fours and a six over mid-on.

PIX: Karunaratne was the lone sentinel for Sri Lanka with a dogged 126

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