Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 3rd Test, Kandy, 2nd day July 12, 2007

Murali's six-for drives away rainy-day blues

StumpsSri Lanka 30 for 0 trail Bangladesh 131 (Muralitharan 6-28) by 101 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out



Muralitharan celebrates yet another wicket on his way to figures of 6 for 28© AFP

On a second consecutive day of rain-marred cricket, Sri Lanka made the most of the intermittent passages of play at Kandy's Asgiriya International Stadium. Muttiah Muralitharan picked up 6 for 28, crossing 100 wickets at his home venue as Bangladesh were bowled out for 131. Heavy rain just moments after that caused a long stoppage in play, and in the two brief openings between showers and bad light, the Sri Lankan openers made a confident start on a pitch that continued to get slower and lower.

Play began half an hour late under overcast conditions, and the overnight batsman Mohammad Ashraful and Tushar Imran, resuming on 72 for 4, were both dismissed during the course of an impressive spell from Sujeewa de Silva. In his first Test for five summers, de Silva showed the importance of a tight line, and how a hint of swing could be enough on such pitches. Sticking to an accurate outside-the-off-stump line, he forced both batsmen into loose drives which the Jayawardenes, Mahela and Prasanna, were happy to pouch.

With the two main batsmen gone, Mahela Jayawardene turned to his ace bowler. As expected, Muralitharan's introduction in front of his home crowd created a buzz. Clearly rankled at being denied a confident shout against Ashraful in his first over - the batsman flashed a cut at a tossed up delivery, there was a noise, but replays didn't show any visible deviation off the bat - Muralitharan fizzed one up to Mashrafe Mortaza and dived full stretch to his left to pluck a one-handed return catch.

A second but much easier one came his way soon after, as Mohammad Rafique slogged one up in the air, and Muralitharan's fifth wicket arrived four deliveries later when Shahadat Hossain prodded an inside edge to forward short leg. Syed Rasel tried to defend one tossed up from around the stumps and offered silly point an easy catch. The last six wickets had fallen for 33 runs. Muralithan took his tally to 694, just 14 away from drawing level with Shane Warne's world-record 708.

One over and two off-side boundaries off Michael Vandort's bat into Sri Lanka's reply, a brief shower forced everyone to cool their heels for a few minutes. Vandort received a painful blow on the ankle from a fielder's throw but progressed to 25 from 29 deliveries before bad light forced a premature close.

The two teams apart, umpires Rudi Koertzen and Suresh Shastri will hope that better weather prevails on day three, as they were kept busy inspecting conditions and an insufficient drainage system at the Asgiriya Stadium.

Jamie Alter is an editorial assistant on Cricinfo