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At Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo, July 28, 29, 30, 31. Sri Lanka won by 288 runs. Toss: Bangladesh. Test debuts: M. K. G. C. P. Lakshitha, J. Mubarak, M. N. Nawaz; Alok Kapali, Tapash Baisya, Tushar Imran.
Jayasuriya began the match thoroughly unhappy with the team the selectors had given him - he said he had never seen some of them in action before. But he finished it full of praise for the youngsters, especially the swing bowler Lakshitha (also known as Chamila Gamage) and Michael Vandort, an opening batsman. The Sri Lankan selectors had made seven changes and introduced three new players, Lakshitha and left-hand batsmen Jehan Mubarak and Naveed Nawaz. Bangladesh fielded another three debutants, bringing their total in the series to seven.
Bangladesh's batsmen did little better than in the First Test, but at least their bowlers had the satisfaction of bowling out Sri Lanka in the first innings, for 373 - it was only the third time in Sri Lanka's last ten home Tests that they had not reached 500. The new opening pair, Vandort and Mubarak, gave them a solid start, Jayasuriya plundered a swift 85, and Lakshitha, batting at No. 11, hit 40 in 46 balls.
Lakshitha, a lean bowler from the Air Force club, went on to make history as the first Sri Lankan to claim a wicket with his maiden delivery in Test cricket. Coming on second change in an inexperienced attack, he bowled Mohammad Ashraful with an in-swinger in the ninth over. On the second evening, Tapash Baisya reached an unbeaten 52 in his first Test innings, which almost got Bangladesh past the follow-on target. But Sri Lanka chose not to enforce the follow-on anyway, preferring to give their new top order another outing. It enabled Vandort, a tall left-hander who had played one previous Test, also against Bangladesh, in September, to complete a maiden Test century. His controlled 140 featured 17 fours and a six, and he added 172 in 165 minutes with Nawaz.
Jayasuriya declared at tea on the third day, leaving Bangladesh the unlikely task of chasing 473, or surviving seven sessions. Mohammad Ashraful reached 75, the top score by any Bangladesh batsman in this series, but the end came swiftly after that. Sujeewa de Silva, a left-arm seamer in his second Test, and the off-spinner Samaraweera sent the last six wickets tumbling for 17, and they shared eight between them to complete the victory inside four days. It was the first time Sri Lanka had won a Test without Muralitharan since his debut in August 1992. Of their 32 Test victories, he had contributed to all but three.
Man of the Match: M. G. Vandort.
Close of play: First day, Sri Lanka 301-8 (Fernando 2, de Silva 1); Second day, Sri Lanka 25-0 (Vandort 18, Mubarak 2); Third day, Bangladesh 103-4 (Mohammad Ashraful 31, Alok Kapali 3).
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