Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Galle, 3rd day March 10, 2013

Nelson nearly strikes again

Plays of the Day from the third day of the Galle Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

The rush of blood
Mahmudullah made an uncharacteristic charge at Rangana Herath shortly after he had arrived at the crease. It was the sort of wicket left-arm spinners enjoy: the batsman beaten in flight and stranded in the middle of the pitch. It was Bangladesh's second wicket of the day, and it had come right after Mominul Haque and Mohammad Ashraful added 105 for the third wicket. Mahmudullah rushed back to the pavilion, but his dismissal didn't trigger a collapse because Mushfiqur Rahim set fort for the rest of the day.

The drop
Mohammad Ashraful was batting flawlessly and had passed his century when he popped a chance at silly mid-off. Dimuth Karunaratne spilled the catch as the ball came off high on Ashraful's bat. It would have been a coincidence had Ashraful scored one more run at that point, because Kumar Sangakkara on the first day and Dinesh Chandimal on the second day were both dropped on 111. Ashraful was batting on 110 at the time.

The shot
There were plenty to choose from, especially off Ashraful's bat but there was a period during the second session when he was completely on top of the Sri Lankan attack. One of the three boundaries in the 86th and 87th overs - a square drive through point - looked the best. The Angelo Mathews delivery was slanting away and Ashraful carved through point, where he beat two fielders, one stationed outside the circle. Neither of them moved, nor did Ashraful.

The celebration
After he had run a single to long-off in the 120th over, Ashraful turned around and raised his bat. He had reached 159, the highest score by a Bangladesh batsman in Test cricket. He beat his own record, the 158 he had made against India in Chittagong in 2004. For someone who remembers most of his dismissals, it was quite natural for Ashraful to realise he had passed his own and the country's highest score.

The close call
Kithuruwan Vithanage has had little to do on debut so far, having not had to bat in the first innings, but he has been useful in field, despite long, lonely stints at the boundary. His best moment came when Mushfiqur drove towards the cover boundary, and Vithanage sprinted around from long-off to dive and collect, and get the throw away. Ashraful, who had expected the ball to go for four had turned slowly, but was quickly aware he may be run-out. Vithanage's 70-metre direct hit sparked a referral and almost had him out.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here. Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

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