Karunaratne leads Sri Lanka’s reply with resilient knock

Saturday, 24 April 2021 00:49 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim, who made a half-century apiece, touch gloves


By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Sri Lanka Captain Dimuth Karunaratne led his team’s reply to Bangladesh’s massive first innings total of 541-7 declared with a resilient innings of 85 not out that saw them end the third day of the first cricket Test on 229 for 3 wickets at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium yesterday. Sri Lanka still trail Bangladesh by 312 runs with two days of the Test remaining.

The way the pitch has slowed down and the little assistance has offered the bowlers so far it will require a miracle from here to produce a winning result and today’s run of play will decide which way the Test is heading.

Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne got Sri Lanka to a solid start, putting together only the second back-to-back century opening partnership in 17 years. Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya had done it against Zimbabwe in 2004 with stands of 100 at Bulawayo and 281 at Harare. Karunaratne and Thirimanne were associated in a 101-run stand in the last Test played by Sri Lanka against West Indies at North End and have followed it up with another yesterday.

Towards the end of the day Karunaratne was lucky to survive an lbw decision given against him at 82 off Taijul Islam – the ball tracker showing the ball pitching outside off stump and missing leg, and then having the third umpire giving him the benefit for another review when the ball first hit his boot before his bat.

To say that Bangladesh were quite unlucky with the reviews would be an understatement. They had a good chance of breaking the opening stand at 101 but they didn’t go for an lbw review against Thirimanne off Taijul Islam – the ball tracker showing the ball crashing onto leg stump.

However that misfortune didn’t prove too costly as Mehidy Hassan who had been bowling a tight length finally beat Thirimanne’s defence to trap him lbw for a well compiled 58 scored off 125 balls (8 fours).

Mehidy and Taijul both settled into an excellent rhythm and found the right pace to bowl on this pitch, hitting the right lengths more often than not and were each rewarded with a wicket.

Taijul got the big fish Angelo Mathews who misjudged a delivery from the left-arm spinner and was castled for 25 just as when he looked good for a big score.

Taskin who bowled with great pace took the wicket of Oshada Fernando for 20 caught down the leg side by the wicket-keeper.

Dhananjaya de Silva (26 not out) has a lot of work to do with his captain when play resumes on the fourth day today if Sri Lanka are to get anywhere close to the Bangladesh total. 

Bangladesh made their intentions clear in the morning when play resumed with overnight pair Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das looking for quick runs to affect a declaration which came 35 minutes before the lunch break.

Mushfiqur and Das joined the run parade by completing respective half-centuries as Bangladesh piled on the runs and the agony figuring in a partnership of 87 off 146 balls for the fifth wicket. It was the third time that there was at least five scores of fifty or more in an innings for Bangladesh in an innings in Tests and all five were from the top six which was a first for them.

Mushfiqur remained unbeaten on 68 scored off 156 balls (6 fours) and nosed ahead of Tamim Iqbal as Bangladesh’s leading run-getter in Tests. Das scored an attractive 50 off 67 balls (5 fours, 1 six).

The third new ball taken after 160 overs produced a cluster of wickets for Sri Lanka with Vishwa Fernando picking up two (Liton Das and Taijul Islam) to end with figures of 4 for 96.

Suranga Lakmal eventually took a wicket after for 35 overs by having Mehidy Hasan edging a catch behind the wicket. Sri Lanka’s seam attack was reduced to two bowlers after Lahiru Kumara failed to take the field on the third day suffering from a left hamstring injury. Bangladesh ultimately declared after adding 67 runs off 18 overs and losing three wickets to their overnight score of 474-4.


 Sri Lanka fast bowler Lahiru Kumara has his left thigh strapped after pulling a hamstring. Seated with him are Lahiru Thirimanne and Team Manager Manuja Kariyapperuma