Monday, 6 December 2021

Late wickets hurt Bangladesh reply to Lanka’s 338


COLOMBO: The two ends of the day were delicate and disastrous. Dinesh Chandimal took Sri Lanka out of a slippery slope, from an overnight 238 for 7 to a more comfortable footing of 338. Then, Bangladesh did what they have so regularly, giving away a good start and looking like a team hell-bent on self-destruction. Chandimal gave Sri Lanka the cushion with his proficiency, ensuring that they moved quickly on the second morning. Along with Herath, the duo batted for 30-odd minutes before Shakib Al Hasan had the Sri Lanka captain edging to slip for 25. Then, Suranga Lakmal continued the lower order’s good work with 35, most of which came during his 33-run last-wicket stand with Lakshan Sandakan. But it was during the Chandimal-Lakmal ninth-wicket stand that Sri Lanka truly regained control. The duo added 55 runs in quick time, thanks mainly to Chandimal, who opened up with big hits down the ground after notching up his eighth Test century. He finished with ten fours and a six over square-leg off Mustafizur Rahman. Mehedi Hasan picked up three wickets, while Soumya Sarkar took four catches – a record for a Bangladesh fielder in a Test innings. Sri Lanka could have jolted Bangladesh early in their reply had Rangana Herath not been shy in asking for a review in the third over. Tamim played Lakmal across the line and was struck in front; replays later confirmed that the umpire’s not out call would have been overturned. Tamim, on 2 then, survived on 23 when Sri Lanka again decided against using the review. This time, it was Dilruwan Perera who pinged him in front. That hardly deterred Tamim, however, and along with Soumya Sarkar, who stroked the ball nicely, put together a third successive 50-plus stand for the first wicket. When Tamim eventually fell, at the stroke of tea, he had been trapped in front again, having missed a slider from Herath. This time, the review worked, and Tamim walked back one short of fifty, having played 91 balls.

Imrul Kayes, who replaced Mominul Haque at No. 3, got off the mark with an edged boundary, which was followed by a reverse sweep. Sarkar raised a fifty, but just like in Galle, fell soon after. With Sandakan pitching it up, Sarkar shaped to play towards cover but ended up leaving a big gap that allowed the ball to sneak through and hit the stumps. Just one ball prior, he had smacked Sandakan through covers, but given how he has failed to complete the job in every innings this year, the dismissal was not entirely unexpected. Sabbir Rahman and Kayes tried to keep the scoring rate at par with the previous partnerships, but seemed to search for far too many acute angles to find gaps. Kayes had been handed a reprieve when he was dropped on 25 by Chandimal at deep square leg. But he couldn’t make it count, missing a quicker delivery from Sandakan and sent back lbw for 34. Next ball, Taijul Islam, sent out as a nightwatchman, was done in by pace as he was rapped on the pads by a fuller one. With umpire S Ravi not giving it out, Sri Lanka had to opt for another review and were successful again. Shakib Al Hasan played across the line off the hat-trick ball, but luckily for him, he had struck it well. The slide worsened when a set Sabbir fell to Lakmal’s leg-side trap that included a leg gully, short square-leg and a short midwicket. Seeing the field, he played a half-hearted pull that lobbed to leg gully and he was caught by Dhananjay de Silva for 42. As if that weren’t enough, Shakib kept pressing hard at Sandakan, and was lucky to survive. First, Upul Tharanga put him down a deep square leg, before Chandimal nearly got to another top-edged pull. Mushfiqur then quietly got under a bouncer from Lakmal to end the day.

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