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January 5, 2009
Thilan Samaraweera, the Sri Lanka batsman, feels Bangladesh will be unable to mount a Mirpur-like challenge in the fourth innings, with conditions in Chittagong not very conducive for batting.
"The two wickets are totally different," he said after ending the third day unbeaten on 72. "Here it is not easy to play shots, that is the important difference and you have to bat very straight from the start to the end. The Dhaka [Mirpur] wicket got better and better each day but this one is uneven and getting slower. There are cracks developing and if you bowl slowly then it gets very difficult to play strokes."
In Mirpur, Bangladesh scored 414 chasing an improbable 521 and another target in excess of 500 is on the cards for the hosts, with Sri Lanka having already raked up a 472-run lead with six wickets remaining in their second innings.
"I think 400 is a safe score. We didn't declare today probably because the bowlers needed a rest after bowling long spells. Someone like Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan] has bowled 70-odd overs already."
The lead was boosted by an unbroken 131-run stand between Samaraweera and Tillakaratne Dilshan. The two finished unbeaten on 72 and 81 respectively, but Samaraweera said it would be up to the team management on whether they are given the chance to reach their hundreds.
Although the focus has been on the spin pairing of Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, Samaraweera felt the new ball would play a vital role like in the first innings, when Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Fernando gave the spinners a head start with early wickets.
Samaraweera was not too positive about batting on the final two days, but his Bangladesh counterpart Raqibul Hasan felt patience was the key. "Just like we did in Dhaka we will try to play session by session without thinking about the target. The pitch is slow and some balls tend to keep low but it is not alarming."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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