Sri Lanka turn the screw
26 Jun 2007
By: George Roberts
Maiden hundreds from Prasanna Jayawardene and Chaminda Vaas, in additional to three-figure scores from Michael Vandort and Mahela Jayawardene, sat Sri Lanka atop a huge total and gave Bangladesh nowhere to hide in the Colombo heat.
Resuming at 227-3, the hosts' lead quickly dilated in a fashion endured by Tigers' supporters for the last seven years. For all their progression as an limited-overs outfit, Bangladesh's improvement in the longer form of the game is as frustrating as it is difficult to find. Their bowlers were once again confined to fulfilling Sri Lanka's vast appetite for runs and throughout the day thoughts were concentrated on how Bangladesh's batsmen would fare a second time around: that their opposition would simply rack up the runs and then declare seemed almost a given.
Initially, Sri Lanka began at a high tempo, with Vandort and Tillekaratne Dilshan intent on gorging themselves on the Tigers' lightweight attack. There was the atmosphere of a net session as Vandort twice cleanly lifted the Bangladeshi left-arm spinners back over their heads for a pair of sixes, en route to second Test hundred. The footwork on show, particularly from Dilshan, allowed the field to be engineered at will and reduced the slow bowlers to passengers on a pitch offering little help.
The loss of Vandort - caught at short-leg off Mohammad Rafique for 117 - only brought Mahela Jayawardene to the crease, after he had retired hurt with cramp the previous day. Unveiling a classy array of shots, the Sri Lankan captain injected a faster pulse into the innings, despite contributing to a horrendous mix-up that saw Dilshan run out for 79. It took the arrival of the new ball, in the hands of Mashrafe Mortaza, to remove Jayawardene, but not before he had lashed 18 fours and a six in his 159-ball 127.
At 354-6 and with the lesser talents of wicket-keeper Prasanna and Vaas new at the crease, Bangladesh may have scented a crack through which to expose the tail. Instead, they wered forced to suffer 55 further overs of toil in the field as the boundaries continued to flow from either end. Mohammad Ashraful, in his first Test as captain, rotated his bowlers sensibly, but in vain; even the rarely-seen offspin of Habibul Bashar was dragged out of the attic, yet nothing could prevent the air of inevitability that surrounded the Sinhalese Sports Club.
When Mahela Jayawardene eventually declared after Vaas completed a 169-ball hundred, leaving Prasanna unbeaten on 120 from 191 balls, Bangladesh were left to navigate three overs at the end of the day. With the emphasis firmly on survival, Javed Omar and Shahriar Nafees kept their heads, leaving the deficit at a mere 485 runs - just to make Sri Lanka bat again.
Bangladesh 89 all out (32.3 overs)
Muttiah Muralitharan 5-15, Dilhara Fernando 3-33
Sri Lanka 577-6 declared (135.5 overs)
Michael Vandort 117, Mahela Jayawardene 127, Tillekaratne Dilshan 79, Prasanna Jayawardene 120*, Chaminda Vaas 100*
Bangladesh 3-0 (3 overs)