Liton, Mushfiqur hold the fort


Tamim Iqbal retired hurt just before the start of the final session, having scored a fine 133, which was followed by an unbeaten 98-run stand between Mushfiqur Rahim (53*) and Liton Das (54*) as Bangladesh ended Day 3 of the first Test against Sri Lanka at 318/3, trailing by 79 runs. Liton registered his 12th Test half-century, while Mushfiqur brought up his 26th fifty, with the pair batting for 35 overs post tea. Their scoring rate of 2.8 an over was pretty much the rate that Bangladesh maintained throughout the day, with 242 runs being scored in 88 overs at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on Tuesday (17 May).

Struggling with cramps during the second session, Tamim did not come out to bat after tea, with Bangladesh on 212 for 3. Mushfiqur, who had added 36 with Tamim, got good support from Liton as they kept the Sri Lankan bowlers at bay. They collected regular singles, while Liton also struck boundaries from time to time, as they scored at a steady rate to ensure that the scoreboard did not stagnate, despite Sri Lanka trying to apply pressure on them. Sri Lanka also lost two reviews, while Ltton got a lucky break when he was put down at short leg off Dhananjaya de Silva when he was on 33.

Liton was the quicker of the two in terms of scoring rate and the fours that came in their partnership. He was also not afraid to take the aerial route, while he drove well and put away the short deliveries, showcasing a good range with his stroke-play. Liton got to his fifty off 97 balls, getting there by pulling a half-tracker from Lasith Embuldeniya for a boundary. Mushfiqur took 125 deliveries to get to his fifty, getting there with a single late in the final session.

Earlier, Tamim and Mahmudul Hasan Joy continued from where they left off on Day 2, building on their 76-run association as they raised a century partnership. Having denied Sri Lanka any wicket in the first session, they extended their stand to 162. However, the partnership was ended when Mahmudul, who had received a reprieve, was caught down the leg side when he attempted to glance an Asitha Fernando delivery.

Tamim then reached three figures shortly after, but saw Najmul Hossain Shanto walk back for just 1. Kasun Rajitha, who had come into this game as a concussion substitute, struck in his very first over. A delivery that straightened after pitching, took the outside edge through to the keeper. Mominul Haque also departed without making an impact, leaving Tamim waging a lone battle. The Bangladesh skipper tried to defend a delivery that came in but the ball went past the gap between the bat and pad to knock the stumps. It was Rajitha once again who made the breakthrough for the visitors.

Sri Lanka 1st innings (153.0 overs) 397 all out

Bangladesh 1st innings

M. Hasan ca Dickwella b A. Fernando               58

T. Iqbal retired hurt                                            133

N. Hossain c Dickwella b Rajitha                       01

M. Haque  b Rajitha                                             02

M. Rahim not out                                                53

Litton Das not out                                               54

Extras   (b 4, lb 8, nb 5)                                       17

Total (for 3 wickets in 107 overs)                  318

Fall of wickets: 1-162 (Mahmudul Hasan Joy, 48.5 ov), 2-172 (Najmul Hossain Shanto, 54.4 ov), 3-184 (Mominul Haque, 60.5 ov), 3-220* (Tamim Iqbal, retired hurt)

Bowling: Vishwa Fernando 8-0-42-0 Asitha Fernando 16-2-55-1, Ramesh Mendis 31-8-83-0, Lasith Embuldeniya 27-6-62-0, Dhananjaya de Silva 13-2-39-0, Kasun Rajitha 11-4-17-2, Kusal Mendis 1-0-8-0