Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Galle, 5th day March 10, 2017

Herath takes six as Bangladesh crumble to 259-run defeat

Sri Lanka 494 (Mendis 194, Mehedi 4-112) and 274 for 6 declared (Tharanga 115, Mehedi 2-77) beat Bangladesh 312 (Mushfiqur 85, Perera 3-53) and 197 (Liton 35, Mushfiqur 34, Herath 6-59) by 259 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Play 05:48
Fernando: Herath a fourth-innings force of nature

Sri Lanka's slow bowlers imposed their familiar chokehold over another fourth innings of a home Test match, uprooting batsmen as early as the second ball of the day, before sending the Test hurtling to its conclusion by the middle of the afternoon session.

Leading the final charge was Rangana Herath. He was unstoppable as ever in defence of a score, and picked up record for most career wickets for a left-arm spinner en route to figures of 6 for 59. This was his 29th five-wicket haul overall, and his 10th in the fourth innings - no one in the history of the game has got more than seven.

Batting in the fourth innings in Galle is among the most daunting of Test cricket's challenges, and although Bangladesh suggested they might approach the task with spunk on the fourth afternoon, fell away quickly on Saturday. This was their third day-five collapse in four matches, having also failed to draw matches in Wellington and Hyderabad. Save for a 19-over stand between Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das, there was little in the way of resistance. They were eventually all out for 197 - 259 runs short of Sri Lanka.

Their woes had begun immediately on day five. Soumya Sarkar, who had sped to fifty the previous afternoon, almost sent a catch to short leg off Asela Gunaratne first ball, but was out next ball in any case, Gunaratne's offbreak jiving away from his defence to shave the top of off stump.

The top order then quickly succumbed. Dilruwan Perera came to the crease to bowl to Mominul Haque, and trapped the batsman with much the same delivery that had got him out in the first innings. Flighted in to pitch on around middle stump, Perera turned the ball, beat the shot, and rapped a leaden-footed Mominul dead in front of middle stump. So scrambled was the batsman's mind, that he even ventured a heedless review of that lbw decision though he never really thought he had a chance of surviving it - walking most of the way to the boundary before the third-umpire could even run the simulations.

Tamim Iqbal soon sent a catch to slip off Perera, before Herath made his presence known with a double-strike that drew him level with Daniel Vettori's career wicket tally of 362. Shakib Al Hasan was caught at leg slip off one that turned a little more than the batsman expected, then two balls later, Mahmudullah was lbw to a delivery that spun past his defence as well. At that stage, Bangladesh had lost five wickets in 12.4 overs.

Mushfiqur and Liton mounted a brief fight through the back end of the first session, lending hope that Bangladesh might be able to survive until the afternoon rains came. But by now Galle's pitch - itself often a force of nature - had become unfriendly, and even the bad balls turned far enough to draw mistakes. Lakshan Sandakan turned a ball way down the legside in the over after lunch, and Mushfiqur got himself out chasing it and offering a thin edge to the keeper. Sandakan had dismissed Shakib in similar style in the first innings.

Herath then soon had Liton caught off the leading edge at cover to take his 363rd Test wicket - which made him the game's most successful left-arm spinner - and the tail exposed now, the result seemed inevitable. Taskin Ahmed, Mehedi Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman all fell to Herath. All up, Bangladesh could only last 45.2 of the 98 overs they were due to bat on the day.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments