Mendis, Dickwella fall but SL tighten control

Lunch Sri Lanka 443 fo 6 (Perera 30*, Herath 1*) v Bangladesh
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Sri Lanka lost Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella in the first session but not before they had stretched their partnership to 110 © AFP

Sri Lanka lost their overnight pair to impulsive shots, but continued to stride towards a mammoth score on the second morning at Galle. Kusal Mendis will chastise himself for squandering an excellent opportunity to score a maiden double-ton, and Niroshan Dickwella may also reflect on a maiden century that went begging, but both can take satisfaction in propelling Sri Lanka to a formidable match position. They added 67 this morning to bring their partnership tally to 110, and the team was on the brink of 400 when they parted. A brisk unbeaten 30 from Dilruwan Perera ensured Sri Lanka progressed apace towards the end of the session – the hosts going to lunch at 443 for 6.

With little in the pitch now to please either quicks or spinners, Bangladesh were perhaps guilty of a little indiscipline – often providing balls of hittable lengths, even if their lines remained tight throughout. Though he was also somewhat expensive, it was Mehedi Hasan who claimed both wickets, often slowing the ball up and bowling those brave, full lengths. Mustafizur Rahman was the best of the quicks in the session, conceding only five runs from his five overs.

Mendis’ morning was defined by two attempted sixes. The first, off Subashis Roy in the 95th over, was a hook shot gone awry – the mis-hit caught by Mustafizur Rahman at fine leg. The fielder, though, misjudged the position of the boundary, and trod on the rope while competing the catch. The umpire raised his arms to signal a six. Subashis, not seeing Mustafizur’s mistake, raised his arms in celebration. Dickwella, the non-striker, also raised his arms to suggest to Subashis that the ball had been carried over the boundary. Everyone had their hands up, and for a second they were standing around looking like bank tellers during an armed robbery.

The second attempted six, however, would cost him his wicket. Mendis stepped down the pitch to Mehedi Hasan and sought to deposit him over long on. He didn’t quite get to the pitch however, and this time, the mis-hit was controlled by Tamim Iqbal, who kept the ball in play by throwing it in the air, while he himself momentarily stepped over the boundary, then returned to complete the catch. That stroke had been an attempt to get to his maiden double hundred with a six – a sign that for all Mendis’ seeming maturity at the crease, he is not immune to the impetuous flashes of youth. He was out for 194.

Dickwella was typically lively at the crease, launching the second ball he faced on the day over the leg side for six, and at times employed that reverse sweep that has recently served him well in the shortest format. He played the ramp stroke over the slips to hit the second of his successive boundaries off Taskin Ahmed in the 97th over, and brought up his second Test half century soon after, off the 52nd ball he faced.

He continued energetically until eventually one of his attacking shots went wrong. Attempting to slap Mehedi over midwicket, on 75, he mustered only a top edge that was caught at short third man.

Perera has hit four fours and a six in his stay at the crease so far. So long as he remains not out, Sri Lanka will have hopes of eclipsing 500.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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