CHITTAGONG: The fall of three late Bangladesh wickets lent hope the Chittagong Test may yet produce a result, after Sri Lanka had secured a first-innings lead of 200, amassing 713 for 9. Roshen Silva completed an assured hundred, Dinesh Chandimal a measured 87 and Niroshan Dickwella a rapid 62, but it was Sri Lanka’s spinners who truly breathed life into the game.
Finding turn with the almost-new ball, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan and Rangana Herath struck once each in the final 12 overs of the day. With both Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal among those dismissed, the Bangladesh middle order is now charged with carrying them to safety on day five. They are still 119 runs behind.
The late wickets came after the hosts had begun their second innings with such confidence. Tamim Iqbal was not quite as belligerent as he had been in the first innings, but he was nevertheless positive, stroking Herath through midwicket early in his innings, before delectably flicking Suranga Lakmal through square leg in the fourth over. Sri Lanka raised some good lbw shouts, but batting still appeared a relatively uncomplicated exercise. Imrul Kayes was quieter than Tamim, but hardly seemed to be struggling.
It was in the over that Imrul was dismissed that the vibe changed. Tamim was beaten twice by turning Dilruwan Perera deliveries before he finally managed to get himself off strike off the fifth ball. Imrul then somehow managed to get the toe-end of his bat to an attempted ramp shot, and the ball looped out towards the square leg fielder, who completed an easy take. The remaining 11.5 overs were tense; only two boundaries were struck before stumps. Tamim was largely to blame for his dismissal – prodding at a Sandakan ball that was not threatening the stumps, only to send a thin edge to the wicketkeeper. Mushfiqur, however, can consider himself very unlucky. He got forward to defend a full delivery from Herath, only for the ball to hit his bat and bounce off his shoe. Kusal Mendis took a good low catch at silly point.