Murali skittles Tigers

Bangladesh’s impressive recent performances counted for nothing as the wiles of Muttiah Muralitaran proved too much for their inexperienced batting lineup today. Murali claimed figures of 5-79, bringing his total of Test 5-wicket hauls to an incredible half-century. Captain Habibul Bashar made a fighting 69, but the Tigers were bowled out for just 234. They did manage to take two Sri Lankan wickets before the close, however, leaving the tourists on 25-2.

The always resilient Javed Omar helped the Bangladeshi openers build a stand of 52 in only 12.4 overs with a useful 35. He and partner Nafees Iqbal, however, were both trapped lbw by Murali in the morning session, but not before the Sri Lankan new-ball attack of Farveez Maharoof and Lasith Malinga had been generous in gifting Bangladesh a rapid start, allowing them to reach 36-0 in only five overs.

The fall of Iqbal for 26 brought Bashar to the crease, and he succeeded in playing the Sri Lankan bowlers carefully and consummately, even managing to unfurl a couple of attractive attacking strokes off the dangerous Murali. He and Omar took Bangladesh to 85-1 before Omar fell in a similar fashion to Iqbal, trapped in front by a big-turning off-break just before lunch.

Shahriar Nafees fell to Malinga shortly after the interval, bringing last week’s centurion Mohammad Ashraful to the crease. He played some fluent strokes in making 24 from 33 balls, but was undone when Malinga Bandara slipped one through him onto the stumps. From a position of relative strength at 157-3, Bangladesh’s innings proceeded in familiar fashion, wickets falling at regular intervals.

Mohammad Rafique managed 32 from number eight in the order, but he was undone by Dilhara Fernando, as was Shahadat Hossain shortly after. Murali also picked up the wickets of the recalled Mushfiqur Rahim, the resolute Bashar and the slightly clueless Syed Rasel to give him yet another Test five-for. Bangladesh, having chosen to bat, will have been slightly disappointed not to bat out the first day after their good showing at Chittagong.

Sri Lanka’s first innings began badly when Rasel trapped Michael Vandort lbw with one that swung – the nightwatchman Bandara also perished shortly before the close, pulling Hossain to square leg. Bangladesh had put up a fight for two sessions, and the two late wickets may help them claw their way back into the game, but overall it was very much Sri Lanka’s day, as the only man with 1000 international wickets to his name continued on his merry way.

Stumps, Day One, Bogra

Bangladesh 234 all out
Habibul Bashar 69; Muralitharan 5-79

Sri Lanka 25-2
Tharanga 12*; Rasel 1-2

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