Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Mirpur, 5th day December 31, 2008

Jayawardene praises Bangladesh fight

Cricinfo staff

Bangladesh's hopes ended once Shakib Al Hasan fell for 96 © AFP

Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, said his team were fortunate to have the cushion of a 500-plus lead against Bangladesh. Set 521 in Mirpur, the hosts gave Sri Lanka a few anxious moments, but were eventually dismissed for 413.

"The way they played, I mean they batted very well. So credit should go to them," Jayawardene said. "The only good thing is that we had 521 runs behind us and we knew we had to be patient, bowl in the good areas and create opportunities. It was big effort from our bowlers on a very slow wicket towards the end."

Jayawardene said the team was aware that it would be tough to dismiss Bangladesh for less than 200 on a surface favouring the batsmen, which is why they declared only after putting themselves in a comfortable position. "We got five sessions to get them out. They batted very well, especially the middle order and the lower middle-order. [Mohammad] Ashraful, Shakib [Al Hasan] and [Mushfiqur] Rahim at the end batted very well and credit to them."

Jayawardene said Sri Lanka had been wary of being complacent against Bangladesh, despite the poor record of their opponents who have only one Test victory. "You know in the last couple of Test matches they were very close to winning against New Zealand and probably one [Test] against South Africa as well," he said. "So we knew they are capable of doing so."

Mohammad Ashraful, the Bangladesh captain, said the team had performed "pretty well". "Our bowlers bowled well in the first innings, but some decisions went against us that allowed the opponents to post a good total on the board. We knew we did not bat well in the first innings, but I will say we played pretty well throughout the game."

Ashraful raised Bangladesh's slim hopes of a win with a century, adding 112 for the sixth wicket alongside Shakib Al Hasan. Bangladesh continued to fight after Ashraful's dismissal, with Shakib combining with wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim in a 111-run stand, a Bangladesh record for the seventh wicket.

"Our target was to play session by session on the final day and perform better. We never thought of the outcome," Ashraful said. He felt Bangladesh could have pulled off a record chase - the highest is West Indies' 418 for 4 against Australia in Antigua - had either he or Shakib remained at the crease.

"Unfortunately, I got out and Shakib missed his century. Once he left, we gave up hope. But we did not lose heart as Rahim was in very good form in the last couple of series."