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Sangakkara triple puts Tigers in hole

Azad Majumder . Chittagong

Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara celebrates his triple century during the second day of their second Test match against Bangladesh at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Wednesday. — AFP photo  Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara celebrates his triple century during the second day of their second Test match against Bangladesh at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Wednesday. — AFP photo

Kumar Sangakkara did something on Wednesday that no other batsman had ever done against Bangladesh, striking a triple century to guide Sri Lanka to a mammoth 587 runs in the second Test in Chittagong.
The Tigers nearly made a mess of replying to the total before surviving the day on 86-1, still trailing Sri Lanka by 501 runs and needing 302 more to avoid a follow on and give themselves a chance to avoid defeat.
Leading the side in the absence of the injured Mushfiqur Rahim, who fractured his little finger on the opening day, Tamim Iqbal suffered a duck on the fourth ball of the innings to give the small crowd present at the stadium a sense of déjà vu.
Mahela Jayawardene, arguably one of the safest fielders of all time at slip, surprisingly dropped Shamsur Rahman (45 not out) off Dilruwan Perera on 36 before Imrul Kayes (36 not out) survived luckily at 31.
Kayes, making a comeback into the side after nearly two years, charged off-spinner Ajantha Mendis down the wicket, only to loft a catch to mid-on, but Nuwan Pradeep somehow managed to spill it despite having plenty of time to settle under it.
Given the nature of the wicket and the bowling prowess of Sri Lanka, those misses could be costly for the visitors, who are without Rangana Herath, the left-arm spinner who has mesmerized other teams on similar pitches.
Until the misses it was complete dominance from Sri Lanka, with Sangakkara leading their way with his career-best 319 – his 34th Test century, his maiden triple hundred and his ninth 200-plus score, drawing him level with West Indies great Brian Lara.
Only Australian legend Don Bradman is ahead of him with 12 scores of 200 or more.
The 36-year-old veteran, playing in his 122nd Test, also reached the 11,000-run mark on 273. He now has 11,046 Test runs, good for ninth on the all-time list, which is headed by India’s Sachin Tendulkar (15,921).
Resuming his innings on 160, Sangakkara nearly doubled his tally before becoming the last Sri Lankan wicket to fall in the first innings. He hit 32 fours and eight sixes during his knock.
Sohag Gazi took his catch at the long-on boundary when Sangakkara attempted his ninth six, preferring not to rotate the strike with last batsman Pradeep at the non-striking end. Sangakkara shared a priceless 54 runs with Pradeep for their last-wicket stand, to which the latter contributed just four.
Bangladesh were so bemused with his dominance that at one stage they forget to bring the fielders in close despite seeing Pradeep take the strike for the last ball of an over.
Left with Pradeep at the other end, Sangakkara did exactly what any other batsman would do, hitting Sakib al Hasan for a four and two sixes off consecutive balls to move from 286 to 300 runs, making him only the third Sri Lankan to achieve the feat.
Sakib was the stand-out performer among the Bangladeshi bowlers, completing his 11th five-wicket haul in Tests and finishing with 5-148. Had he not been the target of Sangakkara’s late onslaught, the all-rounder’s figures could have easily been better.
Bangladesh were lucky to make their first breakthrough on the day as Kithuruwan Vithanage was given lbw off Nasir for 35 despite an inside edge. In the next over, Sakib dismissed Perera leg-before as Sri Lanka slipped from 402-5 to 405-7.
Mendis joined Sangakkara to add 100 for the eighth-wicket and frustrate the Tigers before Sakib got him out lbw for 47 and completed his five-wicket haul with the scalp of Suranga Lakmal.

Brief scores
Stumps, Day 2

Sri Lanka 1st innings 587 in 156.4 overs (K Sangakkara 319, M Jayawardene 72, A Mendis 47, K Vithanage 35, D Karunaratne 31; Sakib 5-148) v Bangladesh 86-1 in 25 overs (Shamsur 45 not out, Imrul 36 not out).




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Bangladesh all-rounder Sakib al Hasan (L) successfully appeals for an lbw decision against Sri Lankan batsman Suranga Lakmal as umpire Paul Reiffel raises his finger during the second day of their second Test match in Chittagong on Wednesday. — AFP photo
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