First Test

Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2005-06


At R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, September 12, 13, 14, 2005. Sri Lanka won by an innings and 96 runs. Toss: Sri Lanka. Test debuts: Shahriar Nafees, Syed Rasel.

The return of Test cricket to the Premadasa Stadium after more than seven years produced a one-sided and unmemorable contest between a Sri Lanka team brimming with confidence and a demoralised Bangladesh. There were more groundstaff than spectators, and it was all over within seven sessions.

Bangladesh did at least begin positively, after being put in to bat in overcast conditions. The ball swung in the heavy atmosphere, but Habibul Bashar led from the front with a determined 84, guiding his team into a position of strength after stands of 59 with Javed Omar and 92 with Mohammad Ashraful. But, after playing with uncharacteristic care for 74 minutes for his 17, Ashraful had a rush of blood. Shortly afterwards, Habibul was run out by a brilliant reflex stop-and-flick by Dilshan from short leg. Sri Lanka's spinners, Muralitharan and Herath, ran through a panic-stricken middle order as five wickets tumbled in 20 balls, and Bangladesh slumped to 188 all out.

Jayasuriya blasted a quick 46 to leave Sri Lanka only 28 behind by the first-day close. Next day, Bangladesh's bowlers plugged away industriously - especially Mohammad Rafique with his snappy left-arm spin - forcing the middle order to graft hard for their runs on a pitch that was deteriorating fast. Jayawardene, using his feet skilfully, compiled a fine 63, while Samaraweera anchored the innings with a fourhour 78. Dilshan provided more entertainment in the afternoon, had there been a crowd to entertain, with a flamboyant 86 before Atapattu declared, 182 ahead.

Muralitharan bowled just one over on the second evening, embarrassing both Shahriar Nafees and Ashraful with his doosra. His double-wicket maiden left Bangladesh floundering at 36 for three when a storm cut short the final session. Their only hope was the early arrival of the October monsoon - but the next day dawned bright and sunny. Vaas quickly removed Habibul before Muralitharan grabbed centre stage, spinning the ball viciously both ways to claim six for 18. Victory was completed an hour before lunch on the third day as Bangladesh slumped to 86, by one their lowest total in Test cricket.

Man of the Match: M. Muralitharan.

© John Wisden & Co.