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The Report by Andrew Fidel Fernando
February 4, 2014
Sri Lanka 314 for 5 (Sangakkara 160*, M Jayawardene 72) v Bangladesh
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A seamless 178-run union between Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene formed the centrepiece of Sri Lanka's familiar dominance on the first day in Chittagong. Having been joined with Sri Lanka in minor strife on 49 for 2, Sri Lanka's senior pair bent a torpid Chittagong surface and a spin-heavy Bangladesh attack to their will, through a combination of cricketing nous and batting instinct.
Sangakkara finished the day unbowed at 160, after two late wickets weakened Sri Lanka's chokehold. Jayawardene had fallen for 72 early in the third session to Mahmudullah, who was one of four frontline spinners Bangladesh played - having anticipated the nature of the pitch. Al-Amin Hossain was the only seam bowler.
Having drawn level with Sangakkara's 33 tons in Mirpur, Jayawardene had hoped his team-mate would eclipse him once more in Chittagong, but for most of their time together, it appeared as if both were destined for triple figures. Sangakkara's hundred drew him equal with Brian Lara and Sunil Gavaskar at fifth on the century-maker's list. His runs had come in spurts, like the undulations of a melody. Jayawardene - slower and steadier - held rhythm, finding a greater percentage of his score in the outfield.
Sangakkara's most profitable stroke was his pull. Rarely did he fail to slink back and wallop any spinner that pitched it short - which Mahmudullah and Sohag Gazi did frequently. All three of his sixes came over deep midwicket - the second of which propelled him beyond fifty for the seventh time in as many innings against Bangladesh.
Though Jayawardene had taken time to adjust to the pitch's pace, jamming down late on three Al-Amin deliveries in the morning, Sangakkara had unpicked it almost immediately. Often he flitted quickly into position when he saw a poor ball, but delayed his stroke whenever it slowed markedly off the track. It was the sort of surface on which batsmen may never feel set, but the almost complete absence of false strokes in Sangakkara's 245-ball stay was tribute to his enduring concentration.
The stone most often thrown at Jayawardene is that he makes his runs on generous decks, but in difficult conditions favouring spin, his batting so often seems effortless. The spinners fed him enough loose balls after his mild travails against the seamer, and he soon slipped into the kind of slow-pitch reverie that is a familiar sight in Galle or at the SSC. Sangakkara played calculating cricket, darting down the track to hit bowlers off their length, but Jayawardene's method was mass-hypnosis. When Mahmudullah spun one more than expected to strike him in front of middle and leg, he had been in his breezy monotone for hours.
There was turn from the track as well, but it was of the slow variety batsmen find easier to contend with, and Bangladesh did not deliver enough good balls in a stretch to mount significant pressure. That had been part of their undoing in Mirpur as well. Gazi began the day bravely, putting his balls in the air and hoping for something unusual for the surface. He generated decent turn in his opening spell, but though he dismissed Kaushal Silva, his overs became flatter and faster as the day wore on.
Shakib Al Hasan was the most expensive frontline bowler, conceding 70 from his 15 overs - largely because he could not settle on a consistent length. Mahmudullah suffered from the same malaise, to a lesser extent, but his line was better in comparison. Abdur Razzak bowled only one four-over spell, in the morning, before he left the field with a strain in his left hamstring in the 37th over.
Bangladesh might have had hopes of dismissing Sri Lanka for under 300, when they sent back both openers in the first session. Silva was undone by the low bounce, as his sweep shot passed over the ball, which struck him in front of the stumps.
Dimuth Karunaratne had been positive at the other end, finding runs into his favoured leg side and dealing with the vagaries of the surface with security and confidence. But his inability to convert starts at this level persisted. On 31, he hit a short wide one from Al-Amin directly to the man at point, and sunk to his haunches in disappointment before exiting. He now has five scores between 20 and 40 in his last eight Test innings.
Dinesh Chandimal also scripted a disappointment, running down the pitch at Shakib with only six full overs left in the day, to offer a leading edge to backward point. He had fallen in similar fashion against Saeed Ajmal two weeks ago, and in this innings, Chandimal had already survived another familiar close call. In the over before he got out, Chandimal had spotted a short ball from Al-Amin and pulled it on impulse, but though the fine leg fielder could have stayed within bounds after snaffling the top edge, momentum took him over the line. Angelo Mathews also fell attempting a slog - which left Shakib with the best figures of the day, though others had bowled better than him.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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