Bangladesh got off to an ominous start grinding the Sri Lanka bowling attack to the dust piling up 302 for the loss of two wickets fine edged by a brilliant unbeaten on 126 by one drop batsman Najmul Hossain and Tamim Iqbal who made 90 sharing in a rollicking 148-run partnership for the second wicket on a docile pitch after winning the toss at the Pallekelle International Stadium on the opening day of the first test match on Wednesday.
The pair made light of losing Saif Hussan for a duck leg before wicket to Vishwa Fernando with the total 8 as they put the hapless Sri Lankan bowling attack to the sword. Hossain played a restrained 288-ball knock inclusive of 14 boundaries and a six while opening batsman Iqbal struck an aggressive 101-ball innings containing 15 boundaries as Bangladesh sped to a box seat stranglehold of the first of the 2-match test series. The partnership was broken by Vishwa Fernando when he had him caught by Lahiru Thirimanne with the total on 152 for his second wicket The second wicket partnership consumed 30.3 overs. The advent of skipper Mominul Haque saw the visitors further consolidate as he figured in an unfinished third 150-run third wicket alliance with Hossain off the remaining 50.3 overs. Haque’s 150-ball knock contained 6 boundaries as the duo set a threatening tempo to further piling up the runs and exerting the heat on the hosts by the second day. Fernando finished with figres of 2 for 61.
The Lankan camp might well be ruing the option of having gone into the match with just the solitary spinner in Wanindu Hasaranga leaving out Praveen Jayawickrema in opting for a three-pronged pace attack of Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando and Lahiru Kumara having packed the side with eight specialist batsmen with Angelo Mathews and Hasaranga returning from injury. It was hard on the excluded Dinesh Chandimal from the side that did duty in the second test against the West Indies. The selectors placed faith in young Pathum Nissanka, the on debut centurion in the Caribbean, and Oshada Fernando who also came good on that tour, and the choice of veteran batsman Mathews meant the tossup between him and Chandimal earned him the nod for his longstanding experience. The decision though was a hard one given Chadimal’s half century in the second test against the West Indies, and the pressure will certainly be on Mathews to come good given his poor run in recent innings.
SRI LANKA SQUAD :
Dimuth Karunaratne (Capt.), Lahiru Thirimanne, Oshada Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Wanindu Hasaranga, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Feernando.
BANGLADESH 302/2 (90 OVERS) RR: 3.35
(Nimul Hossain n.o. 126, Tamim Iqbal 90, Mominul Haque n.o. 64, Vishwa Fernando 2/61)