Lankans complete easy victory
14 Jul 2007
By: Richard Dickinson
After some resistance at the start of the day, Sri Lanka polished-off Bangladesh with ease in the afternoon session, earning their third innings victory out of three. The star of the show, predictably, was once again Muttiah Muralitharan, who grabbed his 700th Test wicket to end the game, shortly after completing his 20th ten-wicket bag.
The Sri Lankans had declared on their overnight 500 for 4, taking a first-innings lead of 369, and were probably mindful of rain, which has disrupted the match throughout. Other than a short break which forced an early lunch today, however, there were no problems. More difficulty came in the shape of Javed Omar Belim and Shahriar Nafees Ahmed, who finally ended a horror trot which has seen successive scores of 32, 1, 2, 4, 15, 38, 0, 20 and 29 in recent months. The openers put on 47 in the first 16 overs, with Lasith Malinga, as he has throughout the series, struggling with both no-balls and lines. Eventually, however, he induced a nick with a legitimate delivery to Omar, and Kumar Sangakkara at slip made no mistake. Habibul Bashar, another whose recent form has been far from impressive, put on 51 with Nafees in just under 10 overs, before, in familiar style, he was dismissed recklessly, on this occasion charging Murali and being bowled. Mohammad Ashraful and Nafees took the Bangladeshis to lunch without further loss, and at 123 for 2 in the 37th over they were looking relatively comfortable.
Muralitharan, however, is rarely denied long. In his second over after the break, he produced a trademark left-hander's dismissal, a flatter delivery which rushed the batsman into a defensive prod, took the edge and flew to slip. Mahela Jayawardene, as usual, pouched the offering. From there on, it was one-way traffic, and mostly one man was at the wheel. Fielders were clustered around the bat, and Ashraful attempted to hit his way out, taking 10 from one over. But on 19, he was pinned on the back-foot by one that ripped back into him from outside off, and the bowler had his third.
Jayawardene brought back Sujeewa de Silva immediately, and the move paid instant dividends as first Mushfiqur Rahim drove a simple catch to Upul Tharanga at cover, then in the next over Rajin Saleh edged an attempted drive straight to Jayawardene at second-slip. Not long after, Murali persuaded Mashrafe bin Mortaza to strike him straight to the twelfth-man Malinda Warnapura at long-on. However, when Tushar Imran flicked a half-volley from Malinga straight to mid-wicket, Murali needed to take the last two to make the milestone at his home ground. With a sense of inevitability, he duly did, completely outfoxing Shahadat Hossain who attempted a slog-sweep and was bowled, then having Syed Rasel caught at mid-off by Farveez Maharoof. The Bangladeshis had lost their last 8 wickets for just 70, and the margin of defeat (an innings and 193 runs) was at least only the second-largest of the series, after the innings-and-234-run margin of the First Test.
Murali, however, can now look forward to reclaiming the Test wicket record from Shane Warne, when Sri Lanka play Australia in November.
Muttiah Muralitharan 6-28, Sujeewa de Silva 2-29
Sri Lanka 500/4
Kumar Sangakkara 222*, Mahela Jayawardene 165
Shahriar Nafees Ahmed 64
Muttiah Muralitharan 6-54, Sujeewa de Silva 2-34Discuss this news item in the Cricket Web Forums