Sports, Cricket

SL batters pile on runs

Published : 31 Mar 2024 09:44 PM

Sri Lanka dominated the first days of the second Test against Bangladesh at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on Sunday. Their batsmen displayed a patient approach, amassing a formidable 531 runs before being dismissed. Notably, six Sri Lankan batsmen crossed the 50-run mark, preventing Bangladesh from gaining control.

While none reached a century, Sri Lanka ensured they didn't suffer consecutive wicket losses, a scenario that could have benefited Bangladesh. Kamindu Mendis, who scored double centuries in the first Test, fell just short of another ton at 92, dismissed by a run-out. Kusal Mendis top-scored with 93, while opener Dimuth Karunaratne chipped in with 86. Captain Dhananjaya de Silva, fresh off his twin centuries in the first Test, added a valuable 70. Dinesh Chandimal (59) and Nishan Madushka (57) also made significant contributions.

Bangladesh dropped some catches on Day 2, but their bowling improved significantly compared to the previous day. Shakib Al Hasan, returning to Test cricket after a year's absence, claimed 3 crucial wickets for 110 runs, restricting Sri Lanka's batsmen during their aggressive phase. Debutant pacer Hasan Mahmud bagged 2 wickets for 92 runs on Day 1. Syed Khaled Ahmed, Taijul Islam, and Mehidy Hasan Miraz each took a wicket as well.

Resuming Day 2 at a strong position (314-4), Sri Lanka continued aggressively. De Silva and Chandimal found gaps to score boundaries consistently. Chandimal, who struggled in the first Test, found form and reached his fifty off 85 balls. However, Shakib Al Hasan dismissed him for 59, breaking their 86-run partnership.

De Silva also reached his fifty off 70 balls and looked set for another century, but Syed Khaled Ahmed trapped him leg-before with a deceptive delivery. De Silva's knock included six fours and two sixes in his 70 runs off 111 balls.

Kamindu Mendis started well after his arrival, hitting three consecutive boundaries. However, tight bowling from Bangladesh, especially Shakib Al Hasan, forced him and Prabath Jayasuriya on the defensive. Mendis reached his fourth consecutive fifty in his first four Test innings, but Shakib dismissed Jayasuriya for 28, ending their 65-run partnership.

Despite aiming for his third straight century and losing partners around him, Mendis paced the innings skillfully. He smashed two sixes off Taijul in an over to reach 90 but fell two runs short of a century when Asitha Fernando was run out. Mendis' knock included seven fours and two sixes in his well-compiled 92 runs off 167 balls.

Bangladesh openers Mahmudul Hasan and Zakir Hasan then faced a probing spell from fast bowler Lahiru Kumara, who swung the new ball effectively. Kumara dismissed Mahmudul for 21, breaking their opening partnership of 47 runs. Zakir remained unbeaten on 28, with nightwatchman Taijul Islam yet to score. Bangladesh now faces a mammoth task of chasing down a massive total or saving the Test.