Sri Lankan openers put game in balance

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Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne’s unbeaten 70 and Oshada Fernando’s 57 helped Sri Lanka get off to a decent start as they ended the day’s play at 143/2, still trailing by 222 runs.

After finishing their first innings at 365, thanks to Mushfiqur Rahim’s unbeaten 175, Bangladesh struggled to pick wickets early on as Sri Lankan openers put up a 94-run opening stand. However, Ebadot Hossain and Shakib
Al Hasan scalped the wickets of Fernando and Kusal Mendis respectively, helping Bangladesh put up a fightback late in the final session.

Earlier in the opening session of Day 2,
Sri Lankan pacers kept the set batters Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim under check. They bowled at the right lengths and soon got their reward when they broke Liton and Mushfiqur’s epic sixth-wicket partnership.

Kasun Rajitha removed Liton on 141, who could only add six runs to his overnight score. The right-hander succumbed to an offside delivery off Rajitha, edging it straight to the hands of the slip fielder. The pacer secured his maiden five-for later in the same over by dismissing Mossadek Hossain for a duck.

After two quick wickets, Mushfiqur steadied the ship with a crucial 49-run partnership with Taijul Islam. He shifted gears and started attacking the spinners en route to his 150.

Asitha Fernando then struck twice in quick succession, removing Taijul for 15 and Khaled Ahmed on a duck. Fernando got a nick off Taijul’s gloves with a well-directed bouncer which went straight to the wicketkeeper’s hand. Khaled was similarly caught off guard by Fernando’s short delivery.

With Sri Lanka just a wicket away from bowling out Bangladesh, the umpires decided to extend the session by half an hour. Mushfiqur in the last half hour avoided singles and kept the strike as Bangladesh went to lunch at 361/9.

The final wicket came immediately after the lunch break as Mushfiiqur in an attempt to keep the strike, attempted a double, but Ebadot Hossain (0) was run-out at the non-striker’s end, thanks to a brilliant throw by Karunaratne from long-on. Hossain’s wicket brought the hosts’ innings to a close at 365 with Rahim stranded on 175*.

The Sri Lankan openers got off to a good start in their first innings, scoring 84 runs in the afternoon session without losing a wicket. Fernando, who was unlucky to get run out in the first Test, remained unbeaten on 52 in the afternoon session. Karunaratne, at the other end, took his time to get going and remained unbeaten on 31 as the openers took Sri Lanka to tea unscathed at 84/0.

Early in the third session, Sri Lanka lost Fernando to Ebadot, who provided the much-needed breakthrough for Bangladesh. Fernando tried to slash an outside off delivery but it went straight into the hands of the first slip.

Karunaratne remained patient and went on to complete his 29th Test half-century. Kusal Mendis though, after batting through the majority of the session, lost his wicket to Shakib, who trapped him in front of the wicket.

Karunaratne (70*) then batted through the remaining overs with nightwatchman Rajitha (0*) keeping him company as the visitors finished the day at 143/2, still trailing by 222 runs.

Bangladesh 1st innings

M. Hasan Joy b K. Rajitha                                       00

T. Iqbal c P. Jayawickrama b A. Fernando           00

N. Hossain Shanto b K. Rajitha                              08

M. Haque c N. Dickwella b A. Fernando                               09

M. Rahim Not Out                                                    175

S. Al Hasan lbw K. Rajitha                                       00

L. Das c K. Mendis b K. Rajitha                            141

M. Hossain c N. Dickwella b K. Rajitha                 00

T. Islam c N.Dickwella b A. Fernando                    15

K. Ahmed c N. Dickwella b A. Fernando                               00

E.Hossain Run Out D. Karunaratne                       00

Extras                                                                         17

Total (116.2 overs)                                     365 all out

Fall of Wickets: 1-0 Joy, 2-6 Iqbal, 3-16 Haque, 4-24 Shanto, 5-24 Al Hasan, 6-296 Das, 7-296 Saikat, 8-345 Islam, 9-349 Ahmed, 10-365 Chowdhury

Bowling: Kasun Rajitha 28.2-7-64-5, Asitha Fernando 26-3-93-4

Sri Lanka 1st innings

O. Fernando c N. Hossain Shanto b E. Hossain     57

D. Karunaratne Not Out                                            70

K. Mendis lbw S. Al Hasan                                      11

K. Rajitha Not Out                                                      00

Extras                                                                         05

Total (46.0 overs)                                                143-2

Fall of Wickets: 1-95 Fernando, 2-139 Mendis

Bowling: Ebadot Hossain 9-0-31-1, Shakib Al Hasan 9-3-19-1