SL leave Tigers mountain to climbAzad Majumder . Chittagong
Bangladesh face a stern test of their batting mettle after Sri Lanka set them a target of 467 runs to win with a little over a day to bat out to at least save the second Test in Chittagong on Friday.
Kumar Sangakkara once again reached a new batting landmark against the Tigers, adding a century to his first innings triple hundred to help Sri Lanka declare their second innings at 305-4, half-an-hour before the fourth day’s play ended.
Openers Tamim Iqbal and Shamsur Rahman successfully saw off the eight overs they needed to bat, putting 12 runs on the board to reduce the target to 455 runs on the fifth and final day.
They are, however, unlikely to chase the target, which would be difficult to achieve on any surface let alone at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, where the ball had already started keeping low to encourage the spinners.
Sri Lanka, 1-0 ahead in the series thanks to their innings and 248-run win in the first Test, preferred not to give the Tigers any chance, taking their time to build their innings before declaring.
Their recent experience in the UAE, where Pakistan stunned the Islanders by knocking off a target of 302 runs in two sessions for a thrilling five-wicket win to snatch a 1-1 draw in the three-match series, may have factored into captain Angelo Mathews’ thinking.
Sangakkara, who has enjoyed a run-fest against the Tigers in recent matches, unsurprisingly led Sri Lanka; scoring 105 off 144 balls after their openers fell cheaply to off-spinner Mahmudullah.
With this feat, Sangakkara, who scored 319 runs in the first innings, joined Englishman Graham Gooch as the only players to score a triple century and a century in the same Test. Gooch scored 333 and 123 against India at Lord’s in 1990 to make the club his exclusive property until this game.
Sangakkara, however, owed a big ‘thank you’ to Nasir Hossain for helping him achieve this remarkable success after the fieldsman failed to take a simple catch off the bowling of Sakib al Hasan with the batsman on 36.
Sohag Gazi finally dismissed the left-hander a ball after he reached his landmark century with a massive six – his second of the innings. Sangakkara, who now has 35 Test centuries to his name, also stuck 11 fours in his innings.
His dismissal brought an end to his 145-run fourth-wicket stand with Dinesh Chandimal, who went on to score an unbeaten 100 before the declaration came. Mathews was on 43 not out at the time of declaration.
Bangladesh missed a chance to force Sri Lanka to bat a little bit longer, surviving barely five overs in the morning after resuming their first innings on 409-8. Mahmudullah fell to Ajantha Mendis off just the fourth ball of first over without adding to his overnight 30.
Hit-and-miss Al-Amin Hossain and half-fit Abdur Razzak swung their bats aimlessly to add 17 runs before Bangladesh were finally dismissed for 426 runs. Mendis also claimed the final wicket to finish with 6-99, his career best bowling figures in his Test comeback.
Stumps, Day 4
Bangladesh 1st innings 426 in 119.5 overs (Imrul 115, Shamsur 106, Sakib 50, Nasir 42, Mahmudullah 30; A Mendis 6-99, D Perera 3-119) and Bangladesh 2nd innings 12-0 in 8 overs v Sri Lanka 2nd innings 305-4 dec in 75.5 overs (K Sangakkara 105, D Chandimal 100 not out, A Mathews 43 not out; Mahmudullah 2-46) and 587 in 1st innings (K Sangakkara 319, M Jayawardene 72, A Mendis 47, Sakib 5-148).
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