Bangladesh v SL, 2nd Test, Chittagong, 4th day February 7, 2014

Sangakkara feat puts SL in commanding position


Bangladesh 426 and 12 for 0 need 455 runs to beat Sri Lanka 587 and 305 for 4 dec (Sangakkara 105, Chandimal 100*)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Kumar Sangakkara eased, almost casually, to a 35th career hundred in a Test match already heaving with his runs, completing a feat only Graham Gooch had achieved before him. A whip over the midwicket ropes took him over 100 in almost the same fashion he had brought up his triple century in the first innings, and raised his match-tally to 424 - the third highest in Tests. Thanks in large part to his epic labours, Sri Lanka have almost certainly made themselves safe in the Test, with one full day remaining to chase a 2-0 result.

A resurgent Dinesh Chandimal registered a measured ton of his own, to stretch Sri Lanka's advantage on the fourth afternoon and evening. The declaration, at 305 for 4, came upon his entry to triple figures, leaving Bangladesh with one day and 25 minutes to bat out. They went to stumps unscathed after eight tense overs, 455 runs adrift of the visitors.

Sangakkara's numbers against Bangladesh have now moved into a superhuman realm. In his last eight innings against them, he has hit 994 runs, never failing in that stretch to cross 50. In fact, only six times in 21 trips to the crease against Bangladesh, has Sangakkara failed to notch a half-century. An average of 95.57 is unsurprisingly his highest against any team.

On this occasion, Bangladesh can blame their torment on a fielding error. On 36, Sangakkara attempted to blast over the deep midwicket rope, but mis-hit a ball from Shakib Al Hasan to Nasir Hossain, who only had to run a few metres to his left. Shakib had built significant pressure alongside Mahmudullah to provoke the stroke and, upon seeing the catch grassed, he scratched his head in extreme frustration, holding back fury.

Sangakkara's progress took an irritatingly familiar form for Bangladesh, who employed various fields against him but could not stem the effortless flow of runs. With Sri Lanka having lost three relatively cheap wickets, Sangakkara only pursued the poor balls with aggression - sliding back to slam the short deliveries with particular disdain. Mostly, he busied himself with strike rotation, giving constant nuggets of advice to Chandimal, who was fighting for form. It wasn't until he neared his ton that he began to assert himself. Until then, he had collected his runs almost on the sly.

Chandimal was similarly averse to belligerence, and just as efficient at risk-free accumulation. He hit only four fours in nearly three hours at the crease, yet scored his runs at a strike rate of 63. Shakib had troubled him in doses throughout the innings, spinning some past his blade and striking him on the pad, but the grit that had been absent from his game returned. His 145-run stand with Sangakkara was the flesh of Sri Lanka's second innings, after the two had been joined at 78 for 3.

Perhaps aware Chandimal was short of some self-confidence ahead of two months of less-favoured limited-overs cricket, Angelo Mathews delayed the declaration until the batsman had reached his third Test century - all of which have come against Bangladesh. Chandimal may now look with more enthusiasm at the task of leading his team in the World Twenty20 in six weeks.

The hosts' only breakthrough in the middle-session had been Mahela Jayawardene's wicket for 11. Shakib pitched one on off and got it to straighten, striking Jayawardene on the front pad in front of middle. Jayawardene felt the ball had not turned sharply enough to hit leg stump, but replays did not offer a conclusive answer. Again the most aggressive among the hosts' spinners, Shakib would have felt he bowled better than figures of 1 for 80 suggest.

The morning session had belonged to Mahmudullah, however, even after he had hit the fourth ball of the day straight to short leg, when his side would have hoped to whittle their first-innings deficit down to 150. After the Sri Lanka openers had begun tentatively against Al-Amin Hossain, who delivered a spell of seaming deliveries that generated surprising bounce, Mahmudullah arrived to dismiss both of them. Dimuth Karunaratne ended a frustrating series by edging a cut shot to slip, and Silva underestimated the turn Mahmudullah would generate with one of his few aggressive balls of the day.

Suranga Lakmal also got the ball moving in the afternoon, and although Shamsur Rahman followed him with his hands more than any batting coach would advise, the opener managed to account for the movement through hand-eye co-ordination. Shamsur and Tamim Iqbal survived close shouts before stumps were drawn, with the team score on 12.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on February 9, 2014, 16:18 GMT

    to all d sri lankan fans who are bringing out various stats to show sanga is better dan srt, ponting, lara few year back some aussies also introduced some rankings of all time greats and srt was ranked in late 20's behind hayden gilli etc evry1 knows drez no comparison btw srt and hayden and dre was no other indian ahead of srt in dose rankings so if u r talking about stats den few will show vinod kambli and pujara as best batsmen aftr bradman so give it break sanga is a great player but not even as great dese legends even sanga wud have been embarrased by now by unnecesary comparison of lankan fans

  • Sudhakar on February 8, 2014, 6:14 GMT

    With all due respect to Bangladesh and their fans, it quite appears that Bangladesh is not in the league to compete with the other top Test teams. These days, teams manage to win at least in their home conditions. That Bangladesh has not managed a win outside of a depleted WI side and Zimbabwe is an ample indication that they're not there yet as far as Test cricket goes. Its now 14 years of Test cricket for Bangladesh and 80+ matches. There is not even a semblance of a fight!! To make matters worse, there is hardly any crowd for Test matches. Clearly Bangladesh team and their fans don't care much about Test cricket. ICC needs to do something to prevent meaningless Test matches vs. Bangladesh.

  • emba on February 8, 2014, 6:11 GMT

    I think we should learn from SL how to play test cricket. We are on our way to continuing our LOSING streak to 15-ROFL!. Funny part is we r losing to the world no8 team NZ and dont ask me how we r ranked no3!! We can easily lose to Nigerian cricket team if we play in their backyard or even Iceland cric team. Anyways well done to SL for the brave cricket they play!

  • Dummy4 on February 8, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    many people said , it was a wrong dicision to target 400+ runs for bangladesh . i don't know how much they learn cricket .... it is a cricket game.. anything can possible . yes Bangladesh is far less than srilanka .. but they have a ability to manage 400+ runs ,,, because their 9 batsman have e century in test cricket.. i think bangladesh will draw this test .. and make boost for T20 . Good luck bangladesh .

  • Dummy4 on February 8, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    BL are putting up a very good fight, SL played well but dithered a little...may the best team win..Deepak from India

  • Raman on February 8, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    If Lara and Sachin are great, so is Sanga. The problem with some Indian fans is that a mere mortal like Sanga is compared with their demi-god Sachin. They are afraid that Sanga the human being will surpass some of Sachin the demi-god's records. They are jealous. Cool down guys. No need to throw numbers to discredit the achievement of one of the great's of our time.

  • Dummy4 on February 8, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    @ Nitewolf - Everyone can't play international cricket and there's no need to play to criticize. I am a Sri Lankan and lived in this country for 35 years. There's a lot of things behind playing for the country here. It's not talent only.

    I'm with you Sanga's knock is great and he is an all time great player. And the other thing, we should have declared a bit early but I don't see anything wrong in giving Chandimal a chance to get to his 100. We are lack of match winning and attacking bowlers and that's a fact. I don't see we can win this match unless BD batsmen throw their wickets away. Finally whether you agree or not Mathews is not a captaincy material but he will be an excellent Test batsman.

  • Cricinfouser on February 8, 2014, 3:50 GMT

    I don't get it whats wrong with your'll, when your own player cant do it and a player who shows class you start to criticize. If you really are a cricket fan you would acknowledge a great knock than point fingers .. Sanga is one of the greats.

    I don't get it people who say SL should have declared way before and why score over 400 runs against BD bla bla bla .. here a question for the people who think and post what SL should have done or NOT .. IF you think you know better than Mathews then why hell are you not playing international cricket ??? oh wait, i forgot you suck at playing all your'll good at is criticism and big talks !!!

    God sake enjoy the game and player who performs, despite from where or what continent he is or who they play against.


  • Panduka on February 7, 2014, 23:33 GMT

    I am a Sri Lankan. All our players deserve the records against B desh. However, the way we play the game, we deserve to be in the tier two. It is pathetic the way we have set this target. In fact, this is an embarrassment to our bowlers. Our fear of losing this game against B'desh has pushed SL to such a defensive mode we seem to have thrown away another game. We should have given B desh at least 25 overs to bat on 4th day. Pathetic. We have such good talent but no confidence. Feel sorry for the supporters.

  • Dik on February 7, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    I hope Bangladesh goes after it from the beginning. Knowing Bangladesh, they will entertain and not put up a dull show like the Lankans. Tamim should play his game. As long he's there, there will be fireworks. I hope the other end just holds up. Don't decide if you want to draw it until tea. You can't just set yourself for a draw from the beginning.

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