An exciting final day is on the cards after Sri Lanka took a stranglehold of the game against Bangladesh on the fourth day in Dhaka.
The twin tons from the two experienced batters, Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, gave Sri Lanka a massive lead of 141. The bowlers then did significant damage in the final hour of play as Bangladesh limped in at 34/4 at stumps, trailing by 107 runs.
Resuming the day at 282/5, still 83 behind Bangladesh, Mathews and Chandimal started positively, smashing two boundaries and a six in the opening five overs.
Their approach became a lot more cautious thereafter, but despite that, they ensured the runs didn’t dry up, constantly rotating the strike and putting away the occasional boundary.
Chandimal brought up his fifty at the stroke of lunch, and the two batters went unscathed into the break having added 87 runs to the overnight score, giving Sri Lanka a slender lead of four runs.
They carried on after the break. Mathews was extremely watchful in his 90s, taking 27 balls to go from 93 to his second century of the series. He was saved by the DRS twice on either side of his century – he was given caught behind on 94 but replays showed that there was no edge. The umpire raised his finger again when Mathews was on 105 and he looked trapped plumb in front, but snicko came to his rescue, showing a clear spike as the ball passed the bat.
At the other end, Chandimal, who took 118 balls to get to his half-century, was a lot more aggressive after the milestone. His next 50 runs came in just 63 balls as he brought up his 12th Test ton.
It was a toil for the Bangladesh bowlers on a pitch that did not offer anything for the pacers and very little spin early on, despite it being a day four wicket. Mathews and Chandimal ploughed away through the second session, milking singles and doubles while also finding boundaries when given the chance. Sri Lanka went into Tea on 459/5, leading the hosts by 94 runs.
The Tigers finally broke through in the second over of the final session, with Ebadot Hossain deceiving Chandimal (124) with the slower delivery. One brought two as Shakib Al Hasan struck at the other end, dismissing Niroshan Dickwella for 9.
The boundaries were coming thick and fast for Sri Lanka, but they also kept losing wickets. Hossain trapped Ramesh Mendis for 10 before Shakib completed his 19th Test five-wicket haul in the very next over by snaring Praveen Jayawickrama.
Asitha Fernando was the last to fall, run-out at the non-striker’s end trying to keep Mathews on strike, who was left stranded on 145*.
Bangladesh had a tricky hour to see off before stumps, and endured a horror start to their second innings when Tamim Iqbal fell for a duck, collecting a pair in the match.
Two overs later, a direct hit from Jayawickrama sent Najmul Hossain Shanto back to the hut. Mominul Haque followed him back in the very next over for a duck, with DRS coming to Sri Lanka’s aid.
Fernando produced a belter of a delivery that had Mahmudul Hasan fending, leaving Kusal Mendis with a simple catch at slip. Bangladesh were reduced to 23/4 before Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das ensured there was no further damage.
They have it all to do on the final day.
Sri Lanka 1st innings 506 all out
O Fernando c N Hossain Shanto b E Hossain 57
Dimuth Karunaratne b Shakib Al Hasan 80
Kusal Mendis lbw Shakib Al Hasan 11
Kasun Rajitha b Ebadot Hossain 00
Angelo Mathews Not Out 145
D de Silva c Liton Das b Shakib Al Hasan 58
D Chandimal c T Iqbal b Ebadot Hossain 124
N Dickwella c Liton Das b Shakib Al Hasan 09
Ramesh Mendis lbw Ebadot Hossain 10
Praveen c Liton Das b Shakib Al Hasan 00
A Fernando Run Out Shakib Al Hasan 02
Total (165.1 overs) 506 all out
Fall of Wickets: 1-95 Fernando, 2-139 Mendis, 3-144 Rajitha, 4-164 Karunaratne, 5-266 de Silva, 6-465 Chandimal, 7-482 Dickwella, 8-501 Ramesh, 9-502 Jayawickrama, 10-506 Fernando
Bowling: Shakib Al Hasan 40.1-11-96-5, Ebadot Hossain 38-4-148-4
Bangladesh 1st innings 365 all out
Bangladesh 2nd innings
M Hasan Joy c K Mendis b Asitha Fernando 15
T Iqbal c K Mendis b Asitha Fernando 00
N Hossain Shanto Run Out P Jayawickrama 02
M Haque c N Dickwella b Kasun Rajitha 00
Mushfiqur Rahim Not Out 14
Liton Das Not Out 1
Total (13.0 overs) 34-4
Fall of Wickets: 1-15 Iqbal, 2-19 Shanto, 3-19 Haque, 4-23 Joy
Bowling: Asitha Fernando 6-2-12-2, Kasun Rajitha 6-3-12-1