Bangladesh faced imminent defeat at 177 for 5 off 48 overs chasing 437 to win with the cream of the batting destroyed by Sri Lanka’s new found youth spin duo of Ramesh Mendis who took 3 for 86 and Praveen Jayawickrama 2 for 58 on a dramatic fourth day after Sri Lanka had declared the second innings on 194 for 9 wickets at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium.
Requiring a further 260 to win with all of the top order cleaned up, it is a gloomy scenario for Bangladesh to wriggle out with the Sri Lankans poised to wrap it up with its bowling mechanism on song by the impregnable spin weaponry from the blues courtesy Jayawickrama-Mendis and company. Indeed the tear away duo would be all poised to have a final go at overnight batsmen Liton Das on 14 and Mehidy Hasan Miraz 04 when play resumes on the fifth and final day.
If young debutant Praveen Jayawickrama sprang to the limelight like a thunderbolt on Saturday by his record 6 for haul in spinning out Bangladesh for 251, the emergence of 25-year old all-rounder Ramesh Mendis, sharing the new ball with strike bowler Suranga Lakmal, hastened Bangladesh’s precipitation with his right-arm off-breaks. It marked an all-ace in the pack over the moon turnaround for the Lankan camp. He started the slide removing the inform Tamim Iqbal for 24 caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella – Bangladesh 31 for 1 off 7.1 overs for Jayawickrama to follow up with the wiickets of Saif Hassan for 34 caught by Lakmal to leave Bangladesh on 2 for 73 off 16.4 overs and clean bowling Najimul Hossain Shanto for 26 for the addition of 31 runs as the opposition slipped to 104 for 3 off 22.5 overs. The Mendis-Jayawickrama combination was to progressively blend in the ominous in tearing up the reputed Bangladesh top order putting Sri Lanka in the driving seat. Mendis stepped in to dismantle the last of the bastion when he clean bowled Bangladesh skipper Mominul Haque for 32 making it 134 for 4 by the 32nd over and danger man Mushfiqur Rahim for 40 when he had him caught by Dhananjaya de Silva – 171 for 5 off 41.4 overs.
Sri Lanka batted out a further 35.2 overs before declaring on a top score of 66 by skipper Dimuth Karunaratne off 78 balls laced with 7 boundaries and a six and a timely 41 by Dhananjaya de Silva off 52 balls with 4 boundaries and a six after veteran batsman Angelo Mathews had fallen for 12 off 35 deliveries. The total was further boosted by 24 apiece from Pathum Nissanka (31b, 2×4) and Niroshan Dickwella (25b, 2×4).
Taijul Islam was the pick of the Bangladesh bowlers claiming 5 for 72
SRI LANKA 469/6 O/N, 493/7 decl. (159.2 Overs) RR: 3.09
(Lahiru Thirimanne 140, Dimuth Karunaratne 118, Oshada Fernando 81, Pathum Nissanka 30 Niroshan Dickwella n.o. 77, Ramesh Mendis 33, Taskin Ahmed 4/127)
AND 17/2 O/N, 194/9 decl. (42.2 Overs) RR: 4.58
(Dimuth Karunaratne 66, Dhananjaya de Silva 41, Pathum Nissanka 24, Niroshan Dickwella 24, Angelo Mathews 12, Suranga Lakmal 12, Taijul Islam 5 for 72, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 2/66)
BANGLADESH 251 (83 Overs) RR: 3.02
(Tamim Iqbal 92, Mominul Haque 49, Mushfiqur Rahman 40, Saif Hassan 25, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 16, Praveen Jayawickrama 6/92, Suranga Lakmal 2/30, Ramesh Mendis 2/86)
AND 177/5 (48 Overs) RR: 3.68
(Mushfiqur Rahim 40, Saif Hassan 34, Mominul Haque 32, Najimul Hossain Shanto 26, Tamim Iqbal 24, Liton Das n.o. 14, Mehidy Hasan Miraz n.o. 4, Ramesh Mendis 3/86, Praveen Jayawickrama 2/58)