Dhaka,  Saturday
20 April 2024

Sri Lanka near victory as Bangladeshi batters falter

Messenger Sports

Published: 21:20, 2 April 2024

Sri Lanka near victory as Bangladeshi batters falter

Photo: Collected

Sri Lanka was on the brink of victory in the second and final Test against Bangladesh at the end of day three, with the hosts struggling at 268 for 7 in pursuit of a challenging 511-run target.

Pacer Lahiru Kumara, left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuirya, and occasional bowler Kamindu Mendis shone with two wickets each, pushing Bangladesh into survival mode. Despite Mehidy Hasan's resilient 44 off 49 balls and Taijul Islam's 10, Bangladesh faced an improbable 243-run deficit, conceding that Sri Lanka's bowling prowess was too formidable to overcome.

Mominul Haque’s second fifty in the series helped Bangladesh go past 200 for the first time in five test innings dating back to December. But he was dismissed on 50 off 56 after hitting eight fours and one six.

“Bangladesh played well today. They put the pressure back on the bowlers,” Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood said.

“We bowled well in patches. There were periods when we could have bowled better. I don’t think we quite had the consistency in this inning as we showed in the first inning with the ball. But, thankfully, our hard work has put us in a strong position, going into tomorrow.”

Sri Lanka began the day batting, witnessing Angelo Mathews score his first half-century of the series and 41st in his career. Resuming their second innings at 102-6, Sri Lanka declared at 157-7 shortly after Mathews was dismissed by Shakib Al Hasan for 56, having hit five boundaries. Prabath Jayasuriya remained unbeaten on 28.

With a total of 531 in their first inning, Sri Lanka secured a 353-run lead without enforcing the follow-on, maintaining their undefeated record in tests in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh batted for eight overs until lunch, losing their first wicket in the second over after the interval. Jayasuriya dismissed Mahmudul Hasan for 24, followed by pacer Vishwa Fernando getting Zakir Hasan caught by Dhananjaya de Silva at first slip for 19.

Skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto reached double digits for the first time in the series but appeared uncomfortable throughout his stay before he was bowled on 20 by Kumara.

Mominul counterattacked and raised his 18th test fifty off 55 balls, pulling pacer Asitha Fernando down to a fine leg for a single. He was out off the next delivery, top-edging a sweep of Jayasuriya straight to square leg.

“No excuse, as a batting unit, we played extremely bad cricket,” Mominul said. “We couldn’t bat according to our potential. We have to take the responsibility. Today, most of the batters, including me, got out after getting set. The wicket was good to bat on.”

Shakib and Liton Das came together at 132-4 and became Bangladesh’s last great hopes. They fought for more than 16 overs, bridging tea, and combined for 61 runs, but were out in the space of four runs.

Shakib, playing his first test in a year, had 36 off 53 balls when he was baffled by Kamindu’s huge turn and gave the bowler his first wicket in test cricket.

Kamindu also took out Shahadat Hossain for 15 before Liton was undone by a short delivery from Kumara and edged behind on 38.