Niroshan Dickwella and Dinesh Chandimal’s 99-run partnership for the 7th wicket saw Sri Lanka through to a draw on Day 5 of the 1st Test Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Sri Lanka kicked off the day on a positive note as Kusal Mendis scored a counterattacking 48 with a strike rate of over 100 before Taijul Islam dismissed him with a perfect left arm spinners dismissal, the ball spinning away just enough to miss his bat to hit the off stump.
The almost double centurion from the 1st innings, Angelo Mathews walked in as the number 5 for Sri Lanka looking to replicate his heroics but tight bowling from the Bangladeshi spinners brought out a mistake from Mathews as he returned a catch to the bowler Taijul and was dismissed for a duck
After Mathews’ dismissal the new batsman Dhananjaya de Silva and skipper Karunaratne survived till the lunch break as the lead grew to 68 for the visitors.
Just after the resumption, Karunaratne reached his 28th half century in Test Cricket but shortly after he became the 4th victim of Taijul as Mominul Haque took a brilliant catch diving to his right at midwicket.
Dhananjaya looked positive from the word go but ultimately went for one shot too many as he struck a shortish delivery straight into the hands of Rahim at midwicket. With just 4 wickets remaining and Bangladesh searching for their 2nd test victory over Sri Lanka, Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella managed to keep Sri Lanka afloat with a solid partnership for the 7th wicket which guided Sri Lanka safely through to Tea without incurring further damage.
During the final session, the pair went from strength to strength as Bangladeshi bowlers struggled to get a breakthrough. Dickwella who played the aggressive part in this partnership notched up his 20th Test fifty which was just what the doctor ordered for Sri Lanka.
As a last resort Bangladeshi skipper Mominul decided to take the 2nd new ball which didn’t prove to be useful as the two batters managed to see it off comfortably. In fact, with the arrival of the new ball opened the floodgates and runs started to flow quickly for the visitors. The two teams ultimately decided to shake hands and call the match a draw with 15 overs left in the day.
Dickwella(61) & Chandimal(39) shared a gritty 99 run stand which weathered the Bangladeshi spinners & helped Sri Lanka recover from a tense situation at 161/6 to 260/6 with a lead of 192. For Bangladesh the star performer was Taijul who took 4 wickets for 82 runs after bowling a marathon spell of 34 overs.
Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews was adjudged Man of the Match for his mammoth 199 in the 1st innings which included 19 fours and a six after facing 397 deliveries. This is the 4th occasion which he won this award during his test career.
Both the teams shared 4 points each in the World Test Championship from this match; the 2nd and final test match of the series will begin on the 23rd of May at Mirpur.