Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal peppered centuries against Bangladesh to put Sri Lanka in a strong position having posted 506 for a first innings lead of 141 and reduced the home side to 34 for 4 wickets and facing a further deficit of 107 at the end of the fourth day’s play of the second test at Mirpur, Dhaka on Thursday.
The 34-year old Mathews, sounded a super return to form following a lean past at the expense of the Bangla bowlers by carrying his bat notching a super unbeaten knock of 145 off 342 balls, his second successive century in the wake of the 199 in the first test while 32-year old Dinesh Chandimal, himself in a challenge to cementing his place after being chopped some years ago, struck gold with a sterling 124 off 219. The sixth-wicket pair posted 199 off 425 deliveries having come together with the score on 266 and facing a further 99-run deficit.
When Bangladesh batted a second time the innings skidded when pace bowler Asitha Fernando removed Mahmudul Hasan Joy for 15 caught by Kusal Mendis and 19 runs later had Tamim Iqbal also caught by Mendis for a duck. Calamity struck to the innings when Najimul Hossain Shanto was run out to a throw by Praveen Jayawickrama with no addition and when Kasun Rajitha sent back the skipper for a duck caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella with the score 23 Bangladesh was in all sorts of trouble.
Mathews pierced the boundary on 12 occasions while smashing two over the top in his 577-minute fronting of taking apart the Bangladeshi attack for the second successive time while Chandimal struck 11 to the ropes and one over the top in his 323-minute stay. The Mathews-Chandimal leverage proved to be a salvo to the Lankan batting as in the previous test in lending that much of depth for the bowlers to exploit to putting Sri Lanka in a position of pressing for a win on the fifth and final day. In that pursuit, the Lankans would of course, be ruing the loss of a whole session on the fourth day that has brought the contest on a knife thin edge of meeting the challenge of getting past bogey men, first innings centurions Mushfiqur Rahim and Litton Das to rounding off the six remaining opposition wickets. It will be the big challenge the Lankan bowlers will come up against particularly star batsman Rahim who has taken two successive tons off the Lankan attack. It will be the tip of the iceberg of the duo standing between victory for the Lankans when the fired up attack has a final go at them.
Bangladesh 395 and 34/4 (13 Overs)
(Mushfiqur Rahim n.o. 15, Litton Das n.o. 1, Asitha Fernando 2/12, Kasun Rajitha 1/12)
Sri Lanka 506 (165.1 Overs)
(Angelo Mathews n.o. 145, Dinesh Chandimal 124, Shakib Al Hasan 5/96, Ebadot Hossain 4/148)