What began as a promising day for the Tigers ended on a sour note because of the only Test batsman in the Sri Lanka Cricket President's XI at the De Zoysa Stadium in Moratuwa yesterday.
After ending their stipulated 90 overs on 391 for seven on the first day of the two-day tour match on Thursday, Bangladesh began well by removing the top three Sri Lankan batsmen in just 12 overs. Taskin Ahmed bowled Avishka Fernando in the second ball of the fourth over and then removed Samara Sooriya for nought three balls later. The catch was taken by Mushfiqur Rahim, who was on the field and not behind the stumps.
Mustafizur Rahman took a brilliant catch off his own bowling with his wrong hand to remove Ron Chandraguptha in the 12th over.
For a moment it seemed as though the hosts were set for a collapse. While they did keep losing wickets in regular intervals, there was one man who defied the visitors. Lahiru Chandimal played a superb, unbeaten 190 off 253 balls to deny Bangladesh's bowlers a good end to the tour-opening warm-up.
He put on a number of stands with the middle and lower-middle order. Bangladesh managed to remove a number of the middle-order batsmen and reduced the home side to 291 for seven in 68 overs. However, once Chamika Karunaratne joined Chandimal, everything went Sri Lanka's way.
Karunaratne scored an unbeaten 50 off 42 balls with two sixes and seven fours.
Chandimal hammered seven sixes, three of which were consecutively hit off Shakib Al Hasan, and 21 fours for his 190.
The duo put on 113 runs in the last 12 overs of the game and it helped the hosts finish the game ahead of Bangladesh's total of 391. They finished on 403 for seven.
Despite the poor end to the two-day match, team manager Khaled Mahmud said that the players were not disheartened. He focused on the positives and one of them was the performance of Mustafizur, who finished with figures of two for 28 in 12 overs.
“Mustafizur bowled in a good rhythm. He did not seem in trouble at all. He was bowling quickly and with good force. That was good to see. Taskin took three wickets and he was also impressive,” Mahmud told The Daily Star over the phone yesterday.
When asked about Chandimal's innings, Mahmud said: “He batted really well. The players are not demotivated. This was a practice match. I am sure there will be a lot more enthusiasm among the players during the Test.”
Liton Das, who had a good time with the bat in the first innings, did well behind the stumps as well, affecting a caught behind and a stumping. There is a good chance that the Tigers will go into the first Test with the same line-up that played the practice match.
The first Test will begin on March 7 at the Galle International Stadium.