Bangladesh v SL, 2nd Test, Chittagong, 3rd day February 6, 2014

Late wickets give Sri Lanka advantage

72

Bangladesh 409 for 8 (Kayes 115, Rahman 106, Mendis 4-84) trail Sri Lanka 587 by 178 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Maiden tons for the overnight pair of Shamsur Rahman and Imrul Kayes had energised Bangladesh and their crowd in the morning, but by stumps, Sri Lanka's industrious spinners had extracted enough dismissals to stay on track for victory, despite the visitors' abject fielding. A late Ajantha Mendis double-strike swung the match decisively in Sri Lanka's favour, after the Bangladesh middle-order provided fitful resistance. The hosts are still 178 runs adrift in the first innings, with two wickets in hand.

Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah had put on 46 together as the sun began to set, but with only 21 balls remaining until the day's quota was done, a wide ball from Mendis failed to bounce, and Dinesh Chandimal collected what the umpire believed was an under-edge. Bangladesh's last recognised batsman Sohag Gazi was struck in front of middle and off stump next ball, forcing his prompt departure, and Mendis was only denied a hat-trick by unexpected bounce, which may have taken the ball that struck the new batsman's front pad above the stumps.

Shamsur and Imrul were ruled by caution, then adventure, in the morning before giving way to impatience when they surrendered after lunch. They had only strayed, though, after having adding 232 runs, the second-highest Test partnership for Bangladesh, which was also the best for the second wicket. The wicketless first session appeared to unlock the spirit Bangladesh had lacked in the first six days of the series, even if the batsmen who followed were occasionally guilty of taking hair-brained options.

There were moments of imprudence at the top of the day, but the batsmen largely eschewed ambition and strove to reacclimatise themselves to the surface, in the first hour, dulling Sri Lanka's earnest start in the process. The first 15 overs of the day brought only 45 runs, but after that Imrul and Shamsur took to punishing a quickly-worsening bowling effort. They would advance at 5.4 runs an over for the remainder of the session.

The shift in Bangladesh's approach from the first Test was most evident in the way they dealt with Sri Lanka's short balls. Bouncers had been their undoing in Mirpur, but aided by a surface that did not reward short-pitched bowling, both batsmen hooked and pulled judiciously, and often. Shamsur's restraint was as laudably as his aggression. In the 37th over, he hooked consecutive Suranga Lakmal balls with authority, but when the bowler delivered a third short ball outside off stump, the batsman did not offer the same stroke.

Imrul's advances were more on the off side, as he laid into a visibly disorganised Nuwan Pradeep. Width was punished repeatedly and emphatically, in the arc between backward-point and cover, and the balls at the body only fared slightly better, with Imrul reprising the pull shot that had been profitable for him on the previous evening.

If the morning session had made clear the immense talent in Bangladesh cricket, the period after resumption laid out some of its enduring frustrations. Shamsur completed his maiden hundred, in his second Test, with a strike through the covers, but seeing his partner exult at triple figures seemed only to make Imrul more nervous.

On 95, he faced an over from Mendis replete with both cringe-inducing anxiety and incredible good fortune. Perhaps hoping to bash his way to the ton, Imrul advanced to Mendis, found the ball had pitched wide, and offered a gentle top-edged lob to Kithuruwan Vithanage who promptly shelled it. Becoming even more fidgety, Imrul was beaten by one that spun away from him next ball, then when he spotted the kind of short, wide delivery that he had imperiously played along the ground all morning, the batsman slapped it in the air to Vithanage, again.

At the other end, new-centurion Shamsur swung his bat in frustration at the timidity of his partner's dismissal, when the catch was completed. Only, when Shamsur turned around, the umpire had his arm out for a no-ball. Neither the Sri Lanka fielders nor either batsman quite seemed to believe it. By Mendis' next over, Imrul had girded himself enough to bat more intelligently. He blasted a short-wide Lakmal ball to collect his own hundred.

Just as the two should have consolidated their gains however, Shamsur offered an untimely slog to Mendis on 106 and was bowled. He left to a standing ovation, which he had deserved after his morning's work. But his attitude after both he and Kayes reached hundreds perhaps merited some reproach, given Bangladesh were still 355 runs short of Sri Lanka's total.

Imrul was less cavalier, but when Sri Lanka strung together several tight overs, the limits of his patience were also soon discovered. On 115, he ran at Mendis and played an almighty, hamstring-twinging slog, and had his off stump pegged back. Worryingly for Bangladesh, he needed to be carried off the field on a stretcher, casting severe doubts on his further participation in the match.

Sri Lanka's spinners found their groove in the second session, and though poor balls still frustrated efforts to build pressure, they managed enough turn and variation from the surface to prevent another big stand. Dilruwan Perera was the more accurate bowler, wheeling away on middle and off, and turning the ball away from Bangladesh's left-handed batsmen. He removed Mominul Haque and Mushfiqur Rahim after they had made promising starts, either side of tea.

Shakib Al Hasan played with characteristic enterprise for his 50, though he had first batted with reservation, scoring 1 from his first 25 balls. Soon he began to pick off the poor balls, particularly those wide of the stumps, as he flayed nine boundaries on the off side. He had seemed set for a bigger innings himself, but Perera, under Angelo Mathews' guidance, ambushed him with a pair of short covers. The bowler floated one up outside off stump and Shakib's drive, perfectly timed, was snaffled half a metre from the turf by Dimuth Karunaratne.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • android_user on February 7, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    @Nuwas you are just a jerk. BD fielders also droped catches a few times.

  • electrci_loco_WAP4 on February 7, 2014, 6:04 GMT

    SL batsmen has fear of loosing the match again. Look at the runrate - just above 3!. Seems like they fear Mahmudullah 5-2-8-2 as a demon! Mathews praying that seniors will hit at least 50 each to help them to escape from this situation.

  • dummy4fb on February 7, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    SL get quick 240 runs to make the lead 400 and push for the victory. That is the way to play a game. Positive thinking will lift the game.

  • Nuwas on February 7, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    From the looks of those drop catches, SL might've wanted to give BAN some lifeline to impress ICC with keeping their Test status.

  • android_user on February 7, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    Nice to see BD having a good score but groundsmen should prepare bowler friendly wickets so we can get results instead of a draw game, its same in entire Asia, always dead pitches . look what happen to India and Nz ? India is unbeatable in Asia but at the moment they are 50 for 4 chasing 500.

  • dummy4fb on February 7, 2014, 2:08 GMT

    The first hours play will be very important on the fourth day. It will decide everything.

  • dummy4fb on February 7, 2014, 0:16 GMT

    If I am to count SL legends, it would be Ranatunga as captain, Jayasuriya as all rounder, Jayasuriya as batsman, Sangakkara as wicketkeeper batsman, and Murali as bowler Although I would like to also add Duleep Mendis

  • android_user on February 6, 2014, 22:30 GMT

    great BD batting? bad SL bowling? dead pitch? which is it? Anyway puts Sanga's triple in the right perspective.

  • dummy4fb on February 6, 2014, 21:35 GMT

    BD needs to play the first session to draw the test.