COLOMBO: A win on foreign soil against a strong home side was Bangladesh’s dream for a long time. They achieved it in their 100th Test by beating Sri Lanka with four wickets to spare at the P Sara Oval in Colombo.
There were plenty of nervy moments though, especially after Shakib Al Hasan was dismissed with 29 still required in the 191-run chase. Then, umpire S Ravi adjudged Mushfiqur Rahim lbw, only to be overturned on review. In the next over, Rangana Herath could not hold on to a rather touch return catch offered by Mosaddek Hossain.
Mosaddek continued to attack, hitting the next ball over cover for four. Two more boundaries took Bangladesh within six runs of their target. But the debutant fell before the win could be achieved. Eventually it was a Mehedi Hasan sweep that took the team over the line, sparking wild celebrations.
It was Bangladesh’s first win over Sri Lanka in Test cricket. They came into this game on the back of a timid performance in Galle. Then they had to deal with the messy axing of Mahmudullah and a late injury to wicketkeeper Liton Das. It must have been difficult to summon the focus needed to level the series.
A target of 191 in the fourth innings of an away Test is still tough terrain for Bangladesh. Herath and offspinner Dilruwan Perera were able to extract sharp enough turn that Tamim Iqbal could do little more than survive. He struck his first boundary after 41 balls at the crease and shepherded Sabbir Rahman through a 109-run third wicket partnership. That Bangladesh were once 22 for 2 was long forgotten.
Tamim and Sabbir became comfortable with time at the crease. Out came the inside-out drives and cheeky reverse sweeps and up came Herath and Dilrunwan’s hands to scratch their heads. The spinners were totally hit off their lines after lunch.
Tamim reached his fifty off 87 balls, and then launched Herath through extra cover for four and a six over long-on that landed on the second floor. But on 82, he skied Dilruwan towards mid-on and Dinesh Chandimal ran back to complete a sharp catch. Sabbir was lbw for 41 with DRS coming to Sri Lanka’s aid.
Herath would have hoped for things to happen differently on his 39th birthday. He had after all gave his team a good chance by picking up two wickets in two balls in the morning. Soumya Sarkar was caught at long-off playing an unnecessarily aggressive shot and Imrul Kayes followed him to the pavilion by nicking off to slip. The home side was on top at that point, having extended their overnight score of 268 for 8, to 319 in the first hour. Dilruwan and Suranga Lakmal added 80 runs for the ninth wicket. Both fell within five balls of each other; Lakmal made 42 off 48 balls while Dilruwan made 50 off 174. Agencies