Angelo Mathews’s brilliance radiated in a great knock of 199 in a Sri Lankan total of 397, but fell short of the ultimate fulfilment of the magical 200 which would have been his second such, but for a lame stroke which was to deny him that dream score on the second day of the first test versus Bangladesh at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram.on Monday. After Mathews fell in the last session, Bangladesh had replied with 76 for no loss with Tamim Iqbal on 35 and Mahmud Hasan Joy on 31.
But for that elusive mark denied in becoming twelfth batsman in test cricket history to fall a digit short of a double ton, it was a marathon knock off 397 balls containing 19 boundaries and a six. Significantly, it was a two-way upping of a team cause shouldered to the very end being the last man to fall while it was as much a personal triumph. A personal triumph it was in the ecstasy of a tremendous comeback from a form drought that had kept denying the once veteran batter who had carried his country to many conquests. The most memorable is Mathews’ lingering 160 against the odds pairing with last man Rangana Herath in taking Sri Lanka to a historic triumph over England at Headingly eight years ago in 2014.
Resuming on an overnight 114 with Sri Lanka on 258 for the right-hander went on to spar with the Bangladesh attack after having survived an early dismissal on resumption when on 119 when he edged Khaled Ahmed in the fourth over between the wicket-keeper and slips. He found able support from his overnight partner Dinesh Chandimal who went on to make 66 off 148 in a crisp stroke-display that fetched him 3 sixes and 2 boundaries as the fifth-wicket pair added 136 runs having come together with the score on 183. The rest of the Lankan except for last No.10 Vishwa Fernando, who was unbeaten on 17, fell cheaply with recognized batters Niroshan Dickwella and Ramesh Mendis making just 3 and 1 respectively.
Nayeem Hasan was the pick of the Bangladesh bowlers returning career best figures of 6 for 105 followed by Shakib-Al-Hasan 3 for 60.
SRI LANKA 397 (153 Overs)
(Angelo Mathews 199, Dinesh Chandimal 66, Kusal Mendis 54, Oshada Fernando 36, Vishwa Fernando n.o. 17, Nayeem Hasan 6/105, Shakib-Al-Hasan 3/60)
BANGLADESH 60/0 (19 Overs)
(Tammim Iqbal n.o. 39, Mahmud Hasan Joy n.o. 31).