Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sri Lanka take charge after Mushfiqur, Miraz fightback on rain-shortened day

  • Sports Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-03-09 11:10:29 BdST


Skipper Mushfiqur Rahman has put up a valiant fight to help Bangladesh avoid follow-on but Sri Lanka achieved a robust 182-run lead on a rain-curtailed third day of the Galle Test.

With wickets tumbling around him, Mushfiqur held his nerves to play a composed knock of 85 and worked up a crucial century stand with Mehedi Hasan Miraz (41) for the seventh wicket at the Galle International Stadium on Thursday.

Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath grabbed three wickets each for the hosts.

Mushfiqur and Miraz fashioned a stoic 106-run resistance under immense pressure as the Tigers were staring at follow-on after a middle-order slump in the morning session.

Bangladesh were bowled out for 312 two balls into the third session after hovering dark clouds had forced an early tea break due to poor visibility at the Galle International Stadium on Thursday.

Play was again suspended for drizzle before Sri Lanka openers could get on the field. The rain gradually became heavier and the umpires called off play for the rest of the day.

The fourth day has been scheduled begin 15 minutes ahead of regular time for some compensation.

Chasing Sri Lanka's massive first innings total of 494, Bangladesh resumed on overnight 133 for 2 and had the opportunity to build on a strong base fashioned by a 118-run opening stand between Tamim Iqbal (57) and Soumya Sarkar (71) the previous day.

But they lost wickets in heaps due to some ordinary batting and soon lost their way.

Sri Lanka bowlers put the Tigers to the sword by grabbing four wickets at the expense of 50 runs in the first session, reducing them on 192 for 6 before lunch.

In the third over of the morning, pacer Suranga Lakmal sent Soumya packing when he edged an attempted late pull shot.

Shakib Al Hasan was tasked to lead with responsibility, but he departed after showing unnecessary aggression to make matter worse.

Moments after surviving a top edge that flew for a six, Shakib (23 off 19 balls) was taken out by a poor delivery from chinaman Lakshan Sandakan.

Taking advantage of the batsmen's poor temperament, the somewhat inexperienced Sri Lanka bowling attack grew in confidence. They removed Mahmudullah (8) and Liton Kumar Das (5) in quick succession to leave Bangladesh reeling.

Mushfiqur laboured to 22 off 84 balls before lunch but stepped things up by cracking four boundaries and a six to reach his 16th Test half-century off 107 balls after the break.

Sri Lanka opted for the new ball as soon as it was available. Mushfiqur and young Miraz negotiated the new ball quite well for 10 overs and took the team past the follow-on mark.

But Perera trapped Miraz in front in the next over with a quicker to end the stubborn stand before Mushfiqur also departed. Bangladesh stuttered once again, losing their next three wickets for 10 runs.

Herath and Perera then snuffed out the tail in four runs to put Sri Lanka in charge before rain played spoilsport.