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March 8, 2006
Muttiah Muralitharan's tour of milestones continued as he followed up 1000 international wickets in Chittagong with another full harvest in Bogra, claiming 5 for 79, his 50th five-wicket haul in 101 Tests. Bangladesh started with an early run splurge against the new ball but were soon pegged back after Muralitharan's introduction and they were soon bowled out for 234.
However, although the day remained Sri Lanka's, Bangladesh struck back before the close of play with two quick wickets. First, Syed Rasel, swinging the new ball extravagantly, trapped a leaden-footed Michael Vandort lbw and then their nightwatchman, Malinga Bandara, was superbly caught at square leg while trying to pull Shahadat Hossain. Sri Lanka finished on 25 for 2.
Habibul Bashar, Bangladesh's captain, provided lone resistance with a pugnacious 69, an innings full of positive strokes, including some pulls early on as Sri Lanka tested his compulsion to hook. Against Muralitharan he was less secure, switching onto the defensive apart from two fine strokes, a crisp sweep that split the field and a dancing checked-drive that left Muralitharan scowling in annoyance.
Bashar shared a useful stand in the afternoon with Mohammad Ashraful, the home hero of the first Test after his glittering first-innings hundred. While they added 51 for the fourth wicket they briefly raised local hopes of a competitive first-innings score as they reached 157 for 3 at one stage. However, the innings unravelled once Bandara squeezed a flat legbreak through Ashraful's gate.
Prior to the start it was the fast bowlers who were tipped to cause the most damage on a pitch with just a smidgen of moisture. It was the kind of pitch in which Bangladesh might easily have opted to bowl. However, once again showing a new positive intent, Bashar quite correctly choose to bat, backing his openers to weather the dangerous opening overs.
This they did with ease in the end as Sri Lanka's new-ball bowlers, Lasith Malinga and Farveez Maharoof, sprayed the ball around liberally. Runs flowed and an alarmed Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka's new captain, quickly whipped Maharoof out of the attack as Bangladesh raced to 36 without loss after five overs. Fortunately, despite an ominous start as he was thrashed through the covers in his first over, Dilhara Fernando tightened things up and Sri Lanka reclaimed some control. Malinga, too, found some rhythm and tested both batsmen outside off stump.
But the game only really turned when Jayawardene threw the ball to his master spinner. Muralitharan's impact was immediate as his fourth delivery persuaded Iqbal to linger on the back foot, a dangerous ploy as the ball dipped and spun back sharply from outside the off stump. Omar was to fall in identical fashion just before lunch, which Bangladesh reached on 94 for 2.
After the break Muralitharan continued to probe away dangerously. The pitch was much faster than Chittagong and this allowed Muralitharan to slow his pace, tossing the ball in the air and extracting extra spin and bounce. None of the Bangladesh batsmen played him comfortably and he could easily have taken even better figures had a couple of good shouts not been denied and a few half chances spilled.
Nevertheless, it was Malinga who broke through first after the break as Shahriar Nafees, having been worked over with a series of short deliveries, wafted airily at a wide, swinging ball and was caught behind. The innings only really became unhinged after Bandara's dismissal of Ashraful and Murailtharan was there to push it into permanent decline.
Mushfiqur Rahim, just 17 and fresh-faced, given some gentle bullying from a cupped-gloved Kumar Sangakkara behind the stumps, was outwitted by Muralitharan's doosra and trapped lbw early. A few overs later, Bashar also departed as Upul Tharanga claimed a fine catch diving forward one-handed at silly point. By tea Sri Lanka were in full control and afterwards they soon mopped up the tail.
Michael Vandort lbw Rasel 0 (4 for 1)
Beaten by an inswinger hitting middle-and-leg
Malinga Bandara c Iqbal b Hossain 2 (13 for 2)
Gobbled up at square leg off a sweetly-timed pull
Nafees Iqbal lbw Muralitharan 26 (52 for 1)
Stayed back to a ripping off break
Javed Omar lbw Muralitharan 0 (85 for 2)
Pinned on the backfoot by another big-spinning offie
Shahriar Nafees c Sangakkara b Malinga 9 (106 for 3)
Reached for a wide, swinging delivery
Mohammad Ashraful b Bandara 24 (157 for 4)
Bowled off the inside edge while playing with an angled bat
Mushfiqur Rahim lbw Muralitharan 2 (172 for 5)
Deceived by the doosra, played for an offbreak
Habibul Bashar c Tharanga b Muralitharan 29 (186 for 6)
Caught bat-pad while trying to use his feet
Khaled Mahmud c Sangakkara b Malinga 12 (208 for 7)
Nibbled at an outswinger
Mohammad Rafique c Muralitharan b Fernando 32 (231 for 8)
Holed out trying to hit over the top
Shahadat Hossain c Muaralitharan b Fernando (233 for 9)
Flat-batted straight to mid on
Syed Rasel c Bandara b Muralitharan 0 (234 for 10)
Picked-out mid on with attempted lofted drive
Charlie Austin is Cricinfo's Sri Lankan correspondent.Feeds: Charlie Austin
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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