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Shamsur, Imrul defy Lankans

Azad Majumder . Chittagong

Two maiden centurions of Bangladesh’s first innings, Shamsur Rahman (L) celebrates his ton while Imrul Kayes drives the ball on the third day of their second Test match against Sri Lanka at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Thursday. — AFP photos Two maiden centurions of Bangladesh’s first innings, Shamsur Rahman (L) celebrates his ton while Imrul Kayes drives the ball on the third day of their second Test match against Sri Lanka at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Thursday. — AFP photos

Shamsur Rahman smashed his maiden Test century and Imrul Kayes defied a groin injury to join the club of centurions on Thursday but Bangladesh are still far from safety in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Chittagong.
A late-order collapse saw the Tigers reeling at 409-8 at close of play on the third day, trailing Sri Lanka’s mammoth first innings total of 587 by 178 runs with another two days remaining in the Test match.
Mahmudullah is Bangladesh’s last remaining hope as he stayed unbeaten on 30, but he has only batting novice Al-Amin Hossain and an injured Abdur Razzak left to accompany him on the morning of the fourth day.
Things could have been much better if the Tigers had not lost the wickets of Nasir Hossain and Sohag Gazi off consecutive Ajantha Mendis deliveries in the last half-an-hour that apparently swung the match Sri Lanka’s way.
Bangladesh, however, had doubts in their mind over the dismissal of Nasir, who helped them cross the follow-on mark successfully with a fluent 42 before edging a catch to wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal.
Replays remained inconclusive as Nasir became the victim of a controversial decision for the second time in the series.
Bangladesh were nicely poised in the first two sessions as Shamsur and Imrul provided them a solid foundation with a record 232-run second-wicket stand.
Coming together after Tamim Iqbal was dismissed without a run on the board on the fourth ball of the innings, the duo batted out more than two sessions to surpass Bangladesh’s previous highest second-wicket record of 200 runs, set by Tamim and Junaed Siddique against India in 2010.
Shamsur scored 106 with 11 fours and a six in only his second Test while the left-handed Imrul celebrated his return to the Test side after two years with a stroke-filled 115, which included 17 fours and a six.
Mendis bowled Shamsur, who reached his three-figure mark four overs into the second session, and was later rewarded with the wicket of Imrul, whom he beat several times throughout the innings. 
Imrul had to be taken off the field in a stretcher with a pulled hamstring as he stepped out to loft the ball. Imrul was lucky to reach the century though after surviving twice in an over from Mendis when on 95.
The first time he was dropped by Kithuruwan Vithanage at point, but when the same fielder took a catch three balls later, the umpire declared that Mendis had overstepped.
The batsman later revealed he was batting with massive pain having suffered a groin injury while scoring his first run on the second day.
By the time the pain got the better of Imrul, Bangladesh also lost Mominul Haque, who inexplicably attempted a sweep shot off a straight ball and was
judged leg-before wicket after making only 13.
Sakib al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim tried to rebuild the innings but Dilruwan Perera did not let them settle, dismissing the Bangladesh skipper for 20.
When Sakib followed him in the next delivery he faced after completing his 16th Test fifty falling to the trap of Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews, Bangladesh for the first time stared at the danger of the follow-on.
Nasir and Mahmudullah averted the danger only for a dubious decision now threatening to spoil their good job.

Brief scores
Stumps, Day 3
Bangladesh 1st innings 409-8 in 115 overs (Imrul 115, Shamsur 106, Sakib 50, Nasir 42, Mahmudullah 30 not out; A Mendis 4-84,D Perera 3-119) v Sri Lanka 1st innings 587 (K Sangakkara 319, M Jayawardene 72, A Mendis 47, Sakib 5-148).




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