Sakib helps Tigers claw back lateAzad Majumder . Chittagong
Sakib al Hasan claimed two late wickets to restore some parity in the second Test against Sri Lanka, restricting the visitors to 314-5 at close on the first day in Chittagong on Tuesday.
Kumar Sangakkara returned to his supreme best and pounded the Tigers with his sixth Test century against them as Sri Lanka threatened to take game out of reach on the very first day before Sakib delivered the twin blows.
Sangakkara was still at the crease on 160 not out at stumps, but Bangladesh can now at least realistically hope to bowl the tourists out for a total that can be overtaken by their batsmen on a decent batting pitch at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
With some help from the umpire, the hosts could also have taken the wicket of Sangakkara, who survived a loud caught behind appeal in the last over of the day.
Though Sangakkara survived the appeal, the Tigers returned to the dressing room in jovial mood as Sakib dismissed Dinesh Chandimal (27) and Angelo Mathews (five) in the last half-an-hour.
Until Sakib struck, it appeared that Sri Lanka were going to pile up a huge total, similar to what they did in the first Test in Dhaka when they complied 730-6 to set up an innings and 248-run victory.
Bangladesh began the match on a positive note despite losing yet another toss as the bowlers maintained a tight line to take the honours in the first session, which saw Sri Lanka struggling for runs.
Team management sprung a surprise by picking just one pace bowler – the first time Bangladesh has done so in Tests – leaving the onus mostly on the spinners, who were initially successful in containing the Sri Lankan batsman.
Openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva managed just eight runs in the first eight overs and plodded to 30-0 after 15 overs in the first hour before Sohag Gazi broke through the defence of Silva, who followed his edgy 139 in the first Test with just 11.
Karunaratne did all the hard work to take the shine off the new ball and just when it seemed like he was set for a big innings, the left-hander played a rash shot to give his wicket away to Al-Amin Hossain, the only pacer fielded by Bangladesh.
Mahmudullah did not to need to move a centimetre to take his catch at point and Karunaratne departed for 31.
Mahela Jayawardene and Sangakkara, who between themselves have 23,000 Test runs and 66 centuries, gathered their all experience to help Sri Lanka recover from the shaky start and slowly build their innings with a 178-run third-wicket stand.
During their partnership, Bangladesh were largely the second-best team, with both batsmen dominating without any serious trouble. Their cause was helped by the short and wide deliveries bowled by Bangladeshi spinners.
Just when a wicket looked like nothing more than a distant possibility, birthday boy Mahmudullah found one out of nowhere, bowling one straight to hit Jayawardene on his back foot and prompting umpire Nigel Llong to raise his finger without any hesitation. A fielder jumped up to Mahmudullah’s shoulders in celebration, underlining the significance of the wicket.
Jayawardene, who had frustrated Bangladesh with unbeaten 203 in Dhaka, could manage just 72 this time.
Despite the fall of the wicket before veteran right-hander could cause too much damage, it seemed the day was not going to belong to Bangladesh as Sri Lanka continued to score at a good pace with Sangakkara and Chandimal at the crease.
Bangladesh were unlucky to miss out on an opportunity to dismiss Chandimal when Sohag took his catch off Al Amin at the fine leg boundary, only to lose his balance and concede a six instead.
The frustration, however, did not last very long as the Sri Lankan vice-captain gifted Sakib his wicket soon after. Sakib then put the icing on the cake, scalping skipper Mathews to save the day for Bangladesh.
Stumps, Day 1
Sri Lanka 1st innings 314-5 in 92 overs (K Sangakkara 160 not out, M Jayawardene 72, D Karunaratne 31; Sakib al Hasan 2-70) v Bangladesh
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