Bangladesh in their 100th Test Match versus Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval, recorded their first ever Test victory over their hosts. This Test Match provided some absorbing cricket with fortunes fluctuating from one side to the other until the Bangladeshis held their nerve to clinch victory.
The drama unfolded with Sri Lanka winning the toss and electing to bat first. The Bangladeshi pace bowlers exploited the early life on the wicket and picked up wickets at regular intervals, to reduce Sri Lanka to 195 for the loss of 7 wickets around the Tea break. Of the recognized batsmen, Dinesh Chandimal batted resolutely and with the help of skipper Rangana Herath and Suranga Lakmal brought some respectability to the Sri Lankan first innings to Total 338. Chandimal, who had had a lean patch in international cricket coming into this game, batted with great responsibility to score 138 runs. Top order batsmen Dhananjaya de Silva and Dickwella having scored 34 runs a piece, threw their wickets with poor shot selection. The wickets were shared by the Bangladeshi bowlers with off spinner Mehedi taking 3 wickets for 90 runs.
The Bangladeshis started their first innings in mid afternoon of the second day. They started off well and after having come to terms with the Sri Lankan bowling, played some careless strokes to end the day on 133 for 4 wickets. It was surprising to see one of Bangladesh’s senior players, Shakib al Hasan playing with gay abandon with about half hours play remaining for the day, when the need was to stabilize the Bangladeshi Innings. However on the morning of the third day Shakib batted with more application and responsibility and with skipper Musfiqur Rahim established a useful partnership to inch the Bangladeshi score towards the Sri Lankan first innings Total. After Musfiqur Rahim was out bowled by Suranga Lakmal with the first ball of the second new ball, Mossadek Hossain a 21 year old debutant joined Shakib and after a few nervous overs at the start of his innings, gained in confidence and batted with maturity to score 75 runs. This partnership broke the back of the Sri Lankan bowling attack and Bangladesh was able to post a total of 467 towards which Shakib’s contribution was 116. Herath 4 for 82 and Sandakan 4 for 140 were the successful Sri Lankan bowlers.
Sri Lanka in their second innings started off extremely well and were able to wipe off the deficit of 129 for the loss of only one wicket, with Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis progressing very well. However, the introduction of left arm medium pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman into the attack after lunch of the fourth day triggered a Sri Lankan batting collapse. He was able to get rid of Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva all caught behind the wicket in quick succession. Mustafizur, bowling round the wicket to the right handers angling the ball in, was able to get some reverse swing, which lured the batsmen into playing false strokes. This was a clever piece of bowling for which he was richly rewarded. Shakib with his wily left arm leg spin was able to add to the Bangladeshis bowling effort, picking up four of the lower middle order batsmen. Meanwhile, Karunaratne batted very responsibly and stalled the progress of the Bangladeshi bowlers in scoring 126 runs. He was well supported by Dilruwan Perera 50 runs and Suranga Lakmal, who once again proved that he could be a useful lower order batsman in scoring 42 runs. This enabled Sri Lanka to register a total of 319 runs leaving Bangladesh to score 191 runs for victory.
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Bangladesh commencing their second innings half way through the first session of play on the fifth day, started off poorly loosing 2 wickets for 38 runs by the lunch break. Tamim Iqbal 82 runs and Shabir Rahman 41 associated themselves with a partnership which pushed the Bangladesh score above 100 runs. They had completely collard the Sri Lankan bowling attack. It was strange that Suranga Lakmal, the only pace bowler in the Sri Lankan Team was not bowled a single over during this partnership as he was successful in dismissing Rahman in the first innings. Tammin Iqbal and Rahman gave Sri Lanka some hope by playing two rash strokes when they should have seen Bangladesh over the line. This put undue pressure on the batting to follow and Bangladesh lost 6 wickets in achieving this historic win.
It can be concluded that until the final stages of this Test either team had a chance of achieving victory. However Sri Lanka spilled some vital catches during this Test Match which enabled Bangladesh to achieve this memorable victory.