First Test

Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 2005-06

Utpal Shuvro

At Chittagong Divisional Stadium, Chittagong, February 28, March 1, 2, 3, 2006. Sri Lanka won by eight wickets. Toss: Bangladesh.

Muttiah Muralitharan marked his 100th Test match with a vintage display, grabbing six wickets in the second innings as Bangladesh crumbled for 181, leaving Sri Lanka a modest target of 163, which they knocked off for the loss of two wickets. Muralitharan's match haul of nine for 141 - the best by a bowler in his 100th Test, eclipsing Shane Warne's eight for 231 against South Africa at Cape Town in 2001-02 - included his 1,000th wicket in international cricket: by the end of this match Murali had taken 593 in Tests and 411 in one-day internationals.

Until his decisive second-innings intervention, this was a close-run affair, with Sri Lanka managing a slender first-innings lead of 19. It was the first Test played at the Divisional Stadium, which is dedicated to cricket. Previous matches in Chittagong were played at the multipurpose M. A. Aziz Stadium. The first day was dominated by Mohammad Ashraful, who struck 15 fours and three sixes in a memorable 136, his third Test century. The nimble-footed Ashraful took on Murali cheekily - he even tried the reverse sweep - although he did finally perish to him, slog-sweeping to deep square. After Bangladesh had made 319, Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals, and were in some trouble at 178 for five, before a partnership of 117 between Samaraweera, who resisted for exactly four hours, and the more adventurous Maharoof, whose 72 was his highest Test score.

Ashraful could not repeat his heroics in the second innings, as Muralitharan took centre stage. His 1,000th wicket may not have been his best: it came when Khaled Mashud was given out caught close in by Dilshan, although replays appeared to show the ball running up his body without touching the bat. Mohammad Rafique, Bangladesh's oldest player at 35, extended the lead with an uncompromising late 40, but the eventual target held few terrors for Sri Lanka. Michael Vandort, making the most of the absence of Atapattu and Jayasuriya, anchored his side to victory with an unbeaten 64. It was Vandort's first Test for three and a half years, after making 61 and 140 in his previous one, also against Bangladesh, in Colombo in July 2002.

Man of the Match: Mohammad Ashraful.

© John Wisden & Co.
 
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