Tigers keep them aloft despite Karunaratne resistance

DHAKA – Bangladesh bowlers reduced Sri Lanka to 229-3 after the batsmen helped them declare the first innings on 541-7 on day three of the first cricket Test at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium at Kanday on Friday.

Before the bails were drawn for the third day, captain Dimuth Karunaratne was batting on 85 with Dhananjaya de Silva on 26.

The hosts are still trailing by 312 and needed just 113 runs to avoid the follow-on.

On a wicket that looked utterly dead, Sri Lanka openers found it easier to rotate their scoreboard after Bangladesh declared the innings just before the lunch.

Bangladesh bowlers also looked short of plan as to how to bowl on this placid deck but on the stroke of the tea, left-arm spinner Taijul Islam and off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz seemed to have found the right line and length.

They cut the scoring rate of the Lankan openers and thereby created pressure, which resulted in claiming the wicket of Lahiru Thirimanne who looked to have destined for big score.

But Mehidy baffled him with his flight to have him leg-before for 58 at the cusp of tea session. He reviewed the decision in vain.

Despite the wicket assisted them a little, Bangladesh bowlers then bowled in right channel to prevent Sri Lanka from batting fluently. Their nagging line and length meant the batsmen were bound to make mistakes at some points.

But it was the case of Oshada Fernando who was caught by wicket-keeper Liton Das off Taskin Ahmed for 20. After a while Taijul Islam undid experienced Angelo Mathews with a straight delivery that rattled his stump for 25.

With at 190-3, Sri Lanka was in real danger as Bangladesh threatened to expose their tail. But captain Karunaratne seemed to be untroubled by all of those as his sheer concentration kept Sri Lanka on the course.

Taskin, Taijul and Mehidy Miraz grabbed one wicket apiece.

Earlier, resuming the day on 474-4, Bangladesh unleashed their aggressive brand of cricket in a bid to pace the scoreboard. Overnight unbeaten batsmen Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim were to the fore as they ripped through Lankan bowling attack in style.

Both of them brought up their half-century in the process. However right after completing his half-century, Liton was dismissed, which prompted captain Mominul’s decision to declare the innings. Mushfiqur Rahim by then stranded on 68

For Bangladesh, Nazmul Hossain Shanto led the charge with an epic 163, his maiden century, which was complemented by skipper Mominul Haque’s maiden ton on foreign soil. Mominul made 127.

The 541-7 dec, was the Tigers third highest first innings total on foreign soil with the highest also coming in Sri Lanka when they scored 638 in 2013 thanks to a maiden double century of Mushfiqur Rahim. The second highest was 595, which came against New Zealand in Wellington in 2017.

Vishwa Fernando claimed 4-96 to be highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka in this innings while Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara and Dananjaya de Silva picked up one wicket apiece.BSS