Tigers impress but fail to break through | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 24, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:05 AM, April 24, 2021

Tigers impress but fail to break through

As things stand after the third day of the first Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the hosts trail by 312 runs with seven wickets in hand in their first innings. With the batting-friendly pitch in Kandy in mind, it seems the game is heading towards a draw unless something dramatic happens over the next two days at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.

After Mominul Haque Bangladesh's first innings on a mammoth 541 for 7 inside the first session of the third day, Sri Lanka replied strongly and ended the day on 229 for 3, with skipper Dimuth Karunaratne heading towards his eleventh Test ton when he resumes the fourth day on 85.

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From Bangladesh's point of view, the effort from the bowlers should be appreciated despite the pitch offering hardly anything for seamers on a pitch that was covered in grass at the start of the Test.

But Lankan openers Karunarate and Lahiru Thirimanne were confident from the start and negotiated disciplined bowling with a mixture of caution and aggression, adding 114 runs for the first wicket.

Off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz provided the breakthrough on the stroke of tea, when he trapped Thirimanne leg before on 58 with a beautifully flighted delivery drifting onto his pads. Although the 31-year-old was lucky that Mominul Haque opted not to review another close leg-before call previously, this time Thirimanne's review went against him.

Fast bowler Taskin Ahmed, on his comeback to the Test side after four years, was probably the most impressive Bangladeshi bowler, giving away just eleven runs from seven overs initially and bowling with a lot of aggression.

He eventually got a reward, although it was not off the best of deliveries. Oshada Fernando tried to flick the ball down the leg side but Liton took a sharp catch behind the wicket.

The visiting bowlers kept asking questions of the Lankan batters and were able to break another dangerous-looking partnership between skipper Karunaratne and experienced Angelo Matthews for the third wicket. Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam managed to outfox Matthews after the right-hander misjudged the length of the delivery and was bowled for 25.

There was late drama in the dining hour of the days' play when Karunartne was lucky after he was given leg before off Taijul's bowling. The left-hander missed a flighted delivery coming into the stumps and the ball hit his back leg, but the Lankan skipper immediately went for the review which showed the ball miss the stumps.

Earlier, Bangladesh declared their first innings on 541 for 7 after resuming the day on 474 for 4 and batted for 90 minutes in the first session.

The visitors hit the accelerator, adding 67 runs in 18 overs. Liton Das scored fifty while Mushfiqur Rahim was unbeaten on 68 off 156 balls, with six fours. Bangladesh total was their sixth-highest Test total and also the third time that the Tigers had five players getting 50-plus scores.

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