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Tharanga puts Sri Lanka on top
09 Mar 2006
By: Alex Crampton


Just days after Alistair Cook's debut hundred another youngster, Upul Tharanga scores a magnificent 160. But the standard of the opposition, amongst other things mean that it will not go down as being as good as Cook's but he deserves all the praise he gets.

Tharanga batted all through the day, beginning on 13 along with Thilan Samaraweera on 7. Shahadat Hossain, who dismissed nightwatchman Bandara last night, found some bounce with an aggressive spell early on, and reaped the rewards. Samaraweera was caught behind, while Sangakkara received an unlucky lbw decision first ball.

At 43/4 Sri Lanka were in trouble. Bangladesh now had their chance to attack Sri Lanka and get into the tail, but were not as aggressive as they could have been. Tharanga and his captain added 124 runs, to move Sri Lanka into a much more respectable position. During this time, Tharanga brought up his first test 50, overtaking his previous best of 49, and Jayawardene made a useful 49.

The skipper was unlucky not to reach a half century, he pulled a long hop from part-timer Ashraful to mid-wicket. Dilshan continued where Jayawardene left off, and he and Tharanga took Sri Lanka just two runs shy of Bangladesh's total, and were eyeing a big lead.

Bangladesh's spinners, struck back however, and Sri Lanka look unlikely to add too much to their overnight 302-8. Rafique brought Dilshan's 33 to an end, and as Sri Lanka looked to build a lead Enamul Haque struck with the wickets of Maharoof and Fernando. Malinga managed to hang around with Tharanga for the rest of the day, and the pair added 39.

Tharanga finished on 160, his first hundred and his first score over 50. He hit 19 fours and 2 sixes in an innings that saved Sri Lanka from potential embarrassment and gave them the advantage. However, Bangladesh are still in this game, and if they can wrap up the tail tomorrow and set a competitive target they could spring a surprise.

Bangladesh 234 all out
Habibul Bashar 69
Muttiah Muralitharan 5-79, Dilhara Fernando 2-24

Sri Lanka 302-8
Upul Tharanaga 160*
Shahadat Hossain 3-81, Enamul Haque jnr 2-71

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