Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Colombo, 3rd day March 18, 2013

Herath strikes give Sri Lanka the edge


Bangladesh 240 and 158 for 4 (Tamim 59, Herath 3-45) lead Sri Lanka 346 (Sangakkara 139, Chandimal 102) by 52 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

In the 60th over of Bangladesh's innings, the Premadasa Test was evenly poised. They had comfortably wiped out the first-innings deficit of 106, the opener Jahurul Islam had sweat dripping down his face after nearly four hours of resolute batting and was closing in on his first Test half-century, and the stylish Monimul Haque was again showing he was not out of place at the Test level.

Suddenly, Jahurul had a rush of blood, storming out to try loft Rangana Herath; he missed the ball and was stumped. He swung the bat at the pitch in such frustration at the dismissal that he lost control of it and it slipped out of his hand. There were more disappointed swipes of the bat as Jahurul made his way to the pavilion.

It was a feeling of disappointment that Bangladesh fans have come to know well, as their side again squandered hours of good work in a couple of minutes. Mahmudullah was done in next ball by a ripper from Herath, and suddenly Bangladesh were effectively 37 for 4 and from an even footing, the match had twisted Sri Lanka's way.

Till that moment 10 overs from close, Bangladesh had every reason to be satisfied with the day's play. Their attack has faced plenty of punishment from Kumar Sangakkara over the years but they dismissed him in the tenth over of the morning to ensure Sri Lanka's lead didn't get out of hand. They had an agonising six-minute wait for that decision though, as the third umpire watched endless replays to determine whether Sangakkara had nicked the ball through to the wicketkeeper.

Shaminda Eranga then struck some forceful blows with the bat to stretch the first-innings advantage beyond 100, but the Sri Lankan tail was soon polished off by the variations of offspinner Sohag Gazi. Nuwan Kulasekara edged a Gazi delivery that zipped unexpectedly away, giving Mushfiqur Rahim a fifth catch of the innings - a Bangladesh record.

Bangladesh have an appalling Test record against Sri Lanka, losing every match before this series by big margins. Sri Lanka would have been confident of extending that record after taking a substantial first-innings lead. That too on a track where it hasn't been easy to bat and with a heavy outfield that doesn't suit Bangladesh's boundary-based batting, but Tamim Iqbal and Jahurul erased those thoughts with a gritty 91-run stand.

Tamim began with a typically flamboyant cut for four, and powered the ball several times around point but it wasn't the whirlwind innings usually associated with him. With the pitch still by no means treacherous, he played the waiting game, picking the deliveries to punish.

Though Herath was caned for a six each by Tamim and Jahurul in one over, it was mostly slow going from Bangladesh. Jahurul was reprieved early on, with Suranga Lakmal shelling a caught-and-bowled chance, after which he showcased his watertight defence. That six off Herath was the only boundary he hit in the second session.

After the seamers tired, Sri Lanka tried spin from both ends, with Herath and Tillakaratne Dilshan, but that too proved fruitless. About 20 minutes before tea, Angelo Mathews decided to bring back his fastest bowler, Eranga, and the move worked, as Eranga got Tamim to chop onto the stumps.

Mohammad Ashraful then had his second failure of the match as he stayed on the backfoot to a pitched-up delivery from Herath. The ball spun past his weak defensive shot and crashed into the top of off.

Fears of a Bangladesh collapse were stemmed as Jahurul continued to concentrate as hard as ever, and Mominul played with the confidence of a man who had just started his Test career with two half-centuries. The quick bowlers weren't getting much help, and Sri Lanka who had packed the side with three seamers, turned to the part-time spin of Dilshan to assist Herath. Jahurul was calmly progressing towards his maiden Test half-century, after failing to reach there despite passing 30 on four previous occasions, and Bangladesh were looking at ease.

Then came Jahurul's moment of madness, and Bangladesh slipped. They could have been in further trouble if Nuwan Kulasekara had clasped an overhead chance off Mominul at mid-off or Mathews had clung on to an edge from Mushfiqur. Those let-offs allowed Bangladesh to reach stumps four down.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • wbyeats on March 18, 2013, 23:20 GMT

    @rocketman: agree that respect is a two way street but Bangladesh has always been in a one-way street when it comes to Test no respect man; you can now launch your rocket to more arguments but BD cricket sucks. Period.

  • huffpost on March 18, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    the reality is SL has fallen to such low level in test cricket that all major test playing teams(SA,ENG,IND,AUS,PAK,WI,NZ) are better than them. The fact that NZ beat them at home and BD are making them struggle is proof enough. In this match also,without Sangakkara they would have been doomed.I feel BD have improved only slightly. Its SL cricket which has fallen to low standards that they are struggling to beat BD. Eventually they will win this test match but they need serious introspection.

  • SylhetiBangladeshiCricketExpert4u on March 18, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    This is the Moment for Mushfiqur Rahim or Nasir Hossain to Show the World that they can Score in Tough Conditions by Scoring a Hundred..and only then Bangladesh Can Win/Draw this Match

  • Fogu on March 18, 2013, 21:07 GMT

    Yes. BD is transitioning as well. It is transitioning from a extremely weak test team to a competitive team. Over the last two years, BD has played the opponents tougher. We have not learned how to win yet but as we play more tests regularly, that will come too. Don't forget that BD plays test irregularly. As young batsmen develop, we will be more consistent. I believe BD can break in the top five rankings in two years and stay there consistently in 3-4 years. Some IN fans are derogatory towards BD but my question is what is it to you. Are you comparing your team and history to BD? Really? IN doesn't play BD in tests often and have lost to BD in one day cricket last time they played. So, what is your issue?

  • KC_69 on March 18, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    If Bangladesh could hang on for 2 sessions(tough ask) then we might see history.and for SL the first one hour of the play is crucial as they have to take a few wickets that wil put them right into the game.Herath and Sanga are the key players for SL to win whereas Mominul Haque and some lower order contributions from Hossain and Gazi are the key for BD.

  • dummy4fb on March 18, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    We will support SL again indeed, but not until this tour is over.

  • Fogu on March 18, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    @Dhutugemunu; BD fans always appreciated SL as a team and the respect is still there. Obviously there are fans in both countries who like to trash talk but can't do it without insulting others. You can trash talk in a funny way without putting down your opponent. And there are some fans like imsrk, who comment on SL/BD series insulting both teams even though her team is not playing. I am hoping for a good partnership betweem Mominul and Mushfique and then with Nasir so that we have a great 5th day to enjpy. The pitch in Galle was not in SL or BD players control and it resulted in a draw however, the past BD team would have wilted under a huge SL 1st innings score. The Colombo pitch is good but the outfield is sluggish. BD is not as good a team yet to adjust quickly but they will learn. Good luck to all but hoping for a Bangla win.

  • dummy4fb on March 18, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    Looks to me as if Sri Lanka are struggling in this series against a team like Bangladesh :D

  • dummy4fb on March 18, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    What is going on here? It looks like big battling between SL and BD. Do not worry, we will come back as hard as we can, The match is evenly poised right now...

  • Zillurcc on March 18, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    Test cricket is a tough mental game, BD is feeling the heat now. Probably there will be a result, we dont wanna see another negative approach; unless u try to win u can't win. Think, what if u add more 280 runs. No rash shoots, slow, steady & confidently. Mushfique, Momemul, Nasir have the ability to make runs, but tough pitch & Herath in v good touch. Remember, we all want a fighting positive spirit from u. Best wishes, BD Tigers.

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