Tamim, Sarkar steady in reply to SL's 494

Tea Bangladesh 31 for 0 (Tamim 17*, Sarkar 14*) trail Sri Lanka 494 ((Mendis 194, Gunaratne 85, Dickwella 75, Perera 51, Mehedi 4-113) by 463 runs
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Dilruwan Perera struck a handy half-century to steer Sri Lanka towards 500 © AFP

Bangladesh wiped out the Sri Lanka tail in little over an hour after lunch, then made it unscathed to 31, in response to the 494 the hosts had amassed. The pitch on day two has been much the same as it had been on Tuesday: too dry to offer any meaningful seam movement, and not dry enough yet to bring spinners into the game.

Despite the track’s incompliance, Mehedi Hasan continued to flight the ball bravely through much of the first three hours, and gleaned three further wickets as a result – finishing with 4 for 113 from the innings. Mustafizur Rahman deployed his cutters incisively in the morning, and Taskin Ahmed had bowled well on day one, but at Galle, even on a track such as this, the quicks will struggle to outdo the slow bowlers.

Mehedi had dismissed Sri Lanka’s overnight pair in the morning session, and claimed the prized scalp of the afternoon as well, when he hit Dilruwan Perera in front of the stumps with a slider. Perera had struck a third Test fifty at a brisk pace to bring Sri Lanka to the brink of 500, but the second session would also see a substantial mistake from him: fielding at gully in the third over, he dropped a straightforward chance off the bat of Soumya Sarkar, who had been on 4.

Mehedi’s most important wicket of the day was perhaps that of Kusal Mendis, whose 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 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.

His partner, Dickwella, was typically lively at the crease, launching the second ball he faced on the day over the leg side for six, at times employing 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. Mehedi eventually had him top-edging an attempted swipe over the leg side to dismiss him for 75.

Save for Soumya’s dropped chance, the Bangladesh openers were assured against the new ball in the second session. They saw out Lahiru Kumara’s pace, and sought out scoring opportunities against each of the bowlers who came at them. Tamim hit three fours to move to 17 off 23 balls by tea.

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

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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