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The Report by Mohammad Isam
March 3, 2013
Sri Lanka Development Emerging Team 398 for 9 (Vithanage 157*, Priyanjan 83) v Bangladeshis
Kithuruwan Vithanage was the entertainer of the day, as the Sri Lanka Development Emerging Team gave Bangladesh a Sri Lankan workout on the opening day of their tour game. Vithanage's fifth first-class century, ending the day on an unbeaten 157, didn't, however, completely overshadow offspinner Sohag Gazi's five-for.
Bangladesh should be concerned about the number of runs they conceded but the run-rate of 4.43 was almost expected from a bowling attack that had been out of touch with longer-version cricket for most of the 2012-13 season.
Gazi, though, looked less like a bowler in his first international season. He repeatedly flighted the ball while showing equal caution by keeping the ball right up to the batsmen. The young batsmen bought into his generous flight, and five of them fell trying to get him away and succumbed to his control. Gazi's efforts have provided captain Mushfiqur Rahim the relief of finding one bowler with wicket-taking confidence.
In his third over, Gazi gave the visitors the opening wicket after Abul Hasan and Rubel Hossain bowled an opening spell that didn't cause the batsmen too many problems. Udara Jayasundera missed an off-break which turned just enough to take the off stump, before Gazi had the home captain Angelo Perera stumped for 15 just shortly following the lunch break.
Gazi was given a break, during which time Mushfiqur tried out various bowling options and partnerships that weren't successful. In that time, Ashan Priyanjan and Vithanage added 159 for the fifth wicket.
Gazi broke the stand when Priyanjan, on 83, tried to loft him over mid-on but couldn't clear Jahurul Islam. Niroshan Dickwella was out similarly, caught at mid-on, six overs later before the five-for was completed with the wicket of Ishara Jayaratne in the 70th over.
Vithanage, at the other end, progressed impressively against a Test attack, reaching his century in the final session of play. Coming in to bat with a cap on, the Vithanage, a left-hander, survived a few nervy moments at the start before playing mostly straight. He felt comfortable sweeping the ball, too, but most of his runs were brought about by his tendency to move towards the leg side even when the spinners pitched it up.
Vithanage also took full toll of a flagging Bangladesh attack that was a bowler short after the first hour. Abul Hasan threw up a couple of times during his first spell, suffering from dehydration and didn't return to the field for the rest of the day. Mushfiqur's other concern would be a second spinner.
Elias Sunny, the left-arm spinner, is his only choice in the 15-man squad but he looked far from the accomplished first-class bowler he has been in the last five years. He gave the left-handers more room, but wasn't penetrative enough. Rubel had enough overs under his belt to feel confident and give the team management assurance that he is building towards the Test match. Only Gazi will bowl with a wicket-taker's confidence, and Mushfiqur will look at his other options to provide everything else if not the wickets.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondentFeeds: Mohammad Isam
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