Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath and Suranga Lakmal faced 175 balls collectively to take Sri Lanka to the close of play 139 runs ahead of the Bangladeshis in the 2nd Test at the P Sara Oval. The hosts’ 2nd innings total stood at 268/8 when stumps were drawn on day 4 with Perera and Lakmal unbeaten at the crease.
The visitors had a dream start to the day when Mehedi Hasan produced perhaps the ball of the game to dismiss Upul Tharanga. The ball dipped into the batsman, pitched on middle and leg and then ripped away from his outside edge to uproot the off stump as Tharanga looked on, somewhat confused.
From that point onwards, Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne restored parity in the middle, putting on 80 runs together before lunch to take Sri Lanka into the break 8 runs ahead. The pitch did not seem to be offering much to the bowlers, especially in the 1st session and the pair looked comfortable at the crease.
The game turned on its head in the 1st hour of the 2nd session. Mendis fell in controversial fashion when he was given out on review, despite there seemingly being insufficient evidence to overturn the on-field decision. Mustafizur Rahman bowled a peach of a delivery that looked to have gone past the batsman’s outside edge, a belated appeal followed and Mushfiqur Rahim decided to review the on field call. He was rewarded when umpire Marais Erasmus had a long look and decided that there was in fact a noise as the ball went past the bat.
Mustafizur struck again not long after when he had 1st innings centurion Dinesh Chandimal chasing a wide one only to nick behind to a diving Rahim. Things got worse for the hosts when Asela Gunaratne decided to pad up to a Shakib Al-Hasan arm ball and was given out lbw.
Mustafizur proved how vital he is to this Bangladeshi line up when he produced another tempting delivery outside the off stump to have Dhananjaya De Silva prodding tentatively; the ball caught the edge and this time it was a simple catch for the skipper Rahim.
Sri Lanka’s last recognized batting pair did not last long as Rahim took a smart catch moving to his right as Niroshan Dickwella pulled out the lap sweep.
While wickets were falling on one end, Karunaratne continued to accumulate invaluable runs at the other and went to his 5th Test hundred with an outside edge that flew to the 3rd man boundary. There were no big celebrations from the man who came into the game under some pressure, perhaps in the knowledge that the job was not yet done.
He fell eventually once the new ball was taken for 126 but the three lower order batsmen added a further 48 runs to the total by stumps.
Perera looked every bit of the opener he started his career off as, expertly negotiating both spin and pace in a high pressure situation. He and Lakmal put on 21 for the 9th wicket, with the latter looking to play his shots.
The morning session on day 5 could make or break the game, with Sri Lanka hoping to at least get up to the 170 run mark to give their spinners a target to bowl at.