Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh 2nd Test By S.R. Pathiravithana  from the P. Sara Oval To be or not to be. Its Bangladesh’s 100th Test. Sri Lanka now stands at 268 for 8 at the end of the 4th day of the second Test match at the P. Sara Oval. But, in reality the Lankan score [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

What more do you need for a heart stopper


Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh 2nd Test
By S.R. Pathiravithana  from the P. Sara Oval

To be or not to be. Its Bangladesh’s 100th Test. Sri Lanka now stands at 268 for 8 at the end of the 4th day of the second Test match at the P. Sara Oval. But, in reality the Lankan score reads a tentative 138 for 8 with a day to go. Talking of heroics for the Lankans, opener Dimuth Karunaratne played one of the best innings of his short career. Fighting Dilruwan Perera faced 126 balls to stay unbeaten 26 at the end of the day and had put on a valuable 30 run stand for the 9th wicket with Suranga Lakmal who was 16 not out at the end.

Consider it a match-saving or a career-saving knock, opener Dimuth Karunaratne anchored Sri Lanka with a stubborn 126 - Pix by Amila Gamage

So far Bangladesh have not beaten the Lankans in a Test match. Today, would it be the day. Could Bangladesh turn tables on the high riding Lankans to have a good record playing at home. The answers are still at large, because the visitors have a record of slipping in the second inning. What more do you want for a heart stopper?

The man who made the difference was twenty one-year-old left arm paceman Mustafizur Rahman who bowled a hectic post lunch spell to send the Lankans gasping for their breath. In a seven over spell that cost twenty four runs, Rahman bagged three vital wickets that included the wickets of Kusal Mendis, first innings centurion Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva.
While Rahman was exploiting the lifeless P. Sara wicket, leftarmer Mustafizur Rahman bowled with as lot of purpose to bag 2 for 29 in twelve overs.

The match which looked settled for a sleepy draw, turned into a nightmare. The only batsman who looked comfortable during this batting madness was Karunaratne. It looked as if he was batting on a different wicket.

The second new-ball was taken with the Lankan score reading 211 for 6 with Karunaratne not out on 125 and Perera unbeaten on 4.
Yet, when Soumya Sarkar held on to the catch of Karunaratne in the second over with the new ball, the final nail was driven in. Before Al Hasan got Karunaratne’s wicket, he had scored 126 in 244 balls of batting with a six and ten fours.

In spite of it being a fourth day wicket the P. Sara Oval did not carry any demons in it in the morning session. It was kind for the batsman who had the patience to stay at the crease. Yet, the awaited Bangladeshi breakthrough did not materialise like it did on day three evening. In the second over of the day Tharanga lost sight of a ball that spun sharply and was bowled for the addition of only one run off spinner Mehedi Hasan for 26.

Mustafizur Rahman took three scalps

The Lankans walked into lunch on 137 with Karunaratne unbeaten on 67 and number three batsman Kusal Mendis not out on 36. The pair had added 80 runs in 28.5 overs for the second wicket, but in reality the Lankans were 8 for 1 with two sessions and a day to go.

Once again Karunaratne proved that he has this canny ability to make it good in the second inning. This was Karunaratne’s 12th half century in 72 Test innings and then he converted it to his first Test against Bangladesh and the fifth overall. It was also interesting to note that Kusal Mendis who generally thrives on his stroke play, showed a lot of restraint in this inning. After batting for almost two hours Mendis scored only 36 runs and hit only two fours. Yet, his patience did not count much. Mustafizur Rahman found the edge of his bat before he scored any more runs. Sri Lanka lost another with only 17 runs ahead.

The post lunch session proved to be profitable for Bangladesh further — especially for left arm fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman and his left arm reverse swing. This time he found the edge of the bat of Chandimal for 5. Sri Lanka were tottering at 36 for 3.
Adding to the woes, Gunaratne was trapped in front with no stroke for 7, off left arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan. Sri Lanka slumped further to read a score of 4 for 47. Then Rahman struck once again to send the Lankan to their knees at 5 for 48, with the fall of de Silva.

Events went from bad to worse. Dickwella who earlier survived an appeal for leg before off Al Hasan was out against the same bowler — this time for real while trying to sweep. The Lankans were 61 for 6– looking down right down the barrel.
Tea was taken at 199 for 6 — just 70 ahead with only four wickets intact. Dimuth Karunaratne was not out on 110 while Dilruwan Perera was not out on 2 in 27 balls.


Sri Lanka 1st innings 338
Bangladesh 1st innings 467
Sri Lanka 2nd innings (54 for no loss cont.)
Dimuth Karunaratne c Sarkar b Al Hasan 126
(Comes forward and the ball does not turn into him as expected. Comes on straight and takes the outside edge)
Upul Tharanga b Hasan 26
(On a length, pitches on middle and leg, spins sharply to beat the outside edge of the batsman and takes out off-stump)
Kusal Mendis c Rahim b Rahman 36
(Played defensively, initially it looked as if the ball passed the bat, but was given out after a review — caught behind)
Dinesh Chandimal c Rahim b Rahman 5
(Playing a half hearted drive outside the stumps edged)
Asela Gunaratne lbw b Al Hasan 7
(Offered no stroke while padding, plumb in front)
Dhananjaya de Silva c Rahim b Rahman 0
(Beaten all ends up — the ball was swinging. Reverse swing and off the wicket)
Niroshan Dickwella c Rahim b Al Hasan 5
(Attempted sweep, edged and caught behind; keeper moving with the shot)
Dilruwan Perera not out 26
Rangana Herath lbw Islam 9
(Playing a defensive shot, but missed a turning ball, trapped in front)
Suranga Lakmal not out 16
Extras (b 4lb7 nb w1) 12
Total (For 8 wickets in 99.5 overs) 268
Fall of wickets: 1-57 (Tharanga), 2-143 (Mendis), 3 – 165 (Chandimal), 4 -176 (Gunaratne), 5-177 (de Silva), 6-190 (Dickwella), 7-217 (Karunaratne), 8-238 (Herath)
Bowling: Subashis Roy 16-4-36-0, Mehedi Hasan 22-0-67-1, Mustafizur Rahman 19-3-52-3, Shakib Al Hasan 30-8-61-3, Mossadek Hossain 2.5-0-10-0, Taijul Islam 10-1-31-1

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