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The Bulletin by Kanishkaa Balachandran
January 6, 2009
Sri Lanka 384 (Dilshan 162, Kapugedera 96, Shakib 4-109) & 447 for 6 dec (Dilshan 143, Samaraweera 77, Kapugedera 59*, Sangakkara 54) beat Bangladesh 208 (Mashrafe 63, Mendis 4-71, Muralitharan 3-62) and 158 (Shakib 46, Mushfiqur 43, Dilshan 4-10, Mendis 3-57) by 465 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
This was a match Tillakaratne Dilshan made his own. He set up Sri Lanka with 162 and 143 and completed the job by wiping out the Bangladesh lower-order and finishing with figures of 4 for 10 to wrap up the series 2-0 and script the fifth-biggest margin of victory in Tests in terms of runs. Set an improbable 624 to win in five sessions, Bangladesh wilted first to the spin of Ajantha Mendis before Dilshan struck. It was all over in two sessions.
It could have ended even earlier but Sri Lanka delayed their declaration till lunch, by when their lead stretched to mammoth proportions. The expected tactic in the morning was to allow Dilshan and Thilan Samaraweera to reach their respective hundreds before declaring, though only one of them managed to do so. The declaration came after Chamara Kapugedera reached his second half-century of the match and the lead stretched beyond 600.
Bangladesh were left to chase 521 in Mirpur and made a fist of it thanks to telling contributions by three batsmen. Mushfiqur Rahim, the only common link between that game and this, was left to steer a sinking ship on his own. With the target out of reach, the best Bangladesh could have done was to save the game but Mushfiqur, in the end, was had too much to do.
A strong and steady start was required from the openers but the only promising element was a textbook cover drive by Tamim Iqbal off Dilhara Fernando in the second over. The excitement was short-lived when both openers perished with just 22 on board. Mahela Jayawardene went in for the kill by introducing Mendis in the eighth over and he struck immediately, getting Imrul Kayes to edge to first slip. Tamim fell in identical fashion to his first-innings dismissal, edging Chaminda Vaas to the wicketkeeper and it was the curtain raiser to an all too familiar story.
The incoming batsmen weren't allowed to settle in as Mahela crowded fielders around them, something his counterpart Mohammad Ashraful failed to pick up on yesterday. Slips were employed for the spinners but the placement was different for Dilhara Fernando. Due to the slow nature of the surface, the possibility of slip catches were unlikely, so Mahela stationed them in close catching positions on the on side at silly mid-on, short square-leg and short midwicket. Though the fielders didn't necessarily come in to play, one could sense that Mahela was trying to make things happen and that may have psychologically played a part in Bangladesh caving in.
Junaid Siddique was trapped in front off Mendis and Ashraful, trying to cut loose, failed to pick the googly off the same bowler. Raqibul Hasan was then squared up by a deadly reverse swinging yorker from Fernando. At that stage Bangladesh had lost half their side for 52 and the prospect of wrapping up the game by the afternoon was inevitable.
The decibel levels went up when Mushfiqur and Shakib Al Hasan came together and added 92 for the sixth wicket. Shakib had a packed off side field that he pierced with firm punches off the backfoot off Fernando. In such an insoluble situation, attack seemed the best form of defence. He picked on their best bowler, Mendis, by regularly making room, targeting him on the off side and straight down the ground. Mushfiqur was solid in defence off a very off-colour Muttiah Muralitharan, who didn't quite possess the sting and bite of his partner Mendis.
Mushfiqur tucked away deliveries with the turn and pushed the singles while his partner took the aggressive route. Dilshan was introduced just before the final drinks break and drew Shakib forward with the flight, only to have him stumped off Prasanna Jayawardene, whose glovework has improved this series. Dilshan fired his offbreaks from round the wicket and sliced through the tail with the same exuberance he displayed with the bat. The adjudicators for the Man of the Match and series couldn't have had it easier.
He missed the chance to score two scores of 150 plus in a Test when he was squared up by a brute of a delivery from Enamul Haque Jnr which spun from the rough outside the legstump, skidded and clipped the offstump before he could even react. When he slashed Shahadat Hossain past backward point, he joined Duleep Mendis, Aravinda de Silva, Asanka Gurusingha in the list of Sri Lanka batsmen who have scored centuries in both innings of a Test.
His overnight partner Samaraweera wasn't so fortunate to record a century as he was trapped on the backfoot by a vicious delivery by Shakib which turned square. Kapugedera charged the spinners, threw them off balance with reverse sweeps and paddles and marched on to record a half-century. A declaration was expected after he got to his fifty but curiously, there were no signs of it before lunch. The field was spread out and the whole situation seemed very farcical as the batsmen blocked their way till the interval. It seemed as if Bangladesh's brave attempt at 521 in Mirpur had prompted Mahela to delay the declaration and an amused Ashraful was seen chuckling. By the afternoon though, he wasn't smiling any more.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at CricinfoFeeds: Kanishkaa Balachandran
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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