Bangladesh were eyeing a historic win in their Centenary Test following an inspired spell of left-arm reverse swing bowling by Mustafizur Rahman in the fourth afternoon of the second Test played at the P Sara Oval yesterday.
The destroyer of the Sri Lankan top order batting Mustafizur Rahman.
By the close Sri Lanka were fighting hard to stave off a possible defeat finishing at 268 for eight wickets - an overall lead of 139 with two second innings wickets in hand.
Sri Lanka who lead the two-Test series 1-0 would have been in a worse plight had opener Dimuth Karunaratne not scored a fighting century – 126 off 244 balls with 10 fours and a six – his fourth in Tests and first against Bangladesh. It was a fine innings under pressure.
Karunaratne fell with the score at 217 edging a catch to slip off Shakib Al Hasan with Sri Lanka only 88 in front. Rangana Herath was
out for nine being trapped lbw by Taijul Islam but Dilruwan Perera (26 not out off 126 balls) and Suranga Lakmal (16 not out off 17 balls) stuck it out for the final 38 minutes to add a valuable 30 runs for the ninth wicket.
There was enough drama on the field right until the final ball of the day where Lakmal survived a catch at forward short leg off Mossadek Hossain. The Bangladesh fielders went for the review but Lakmal survived as the replays showed the ball bouncing off his thigh pad.
With the pitch not doing anything so alarmingly to cause the batsmen any discomfort the chances lie heavily with Bangladesh to score whatever runs Sri Lanka will leave them with to chase in the end.
If Bangladesh manage to pull this off it will be their first Test win over Sri Lanka and make them only the fourth Test playing nation to record a win in its 100th Test match – Australia, West Indies and Pakistan being the others.
The Test was turned on its
head by Rahman who bowled an inspired spell in the afternoon to knock the daylights out of the Lankan batting.
Sri Lanka were placed comfortably at 137 for one at lunch, but in the afternoon session they lost that advantage when five wickets fell for 47 runs with Rahman being the chief wrecker capturing three of them.
His wickets included all top order batsmen – Kusal Mendis (36), first innings century-maker Dinesh Chandimal (5) and Dhananjaya de Silva (0) all falling to catches behind the wicket to Mushfiqur Rahim.
Adding to Sri Lanka’s woes was the poor batting of Asela Gunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella who simply threw away their wickets. Gunaratne (7) was ruled out lbw to Shakib without offering shot to a ball that would have hit off stump and Dickwella who was bowled in the first innings playing a reverse sweep to a Shakib delivery was once again guilty of playing an injudicious shot. With his score on five he went for an expansive sweep off the same bowler and lobbed the ball to Mushfiqur. Shakib captured both wickets in an unchanged spell of 12 overs for 29 runs.