Three Day Test?

Bangladesh are in danger of losing another Test inside three days, after they collapsed and were forced to follow on in the second and final Test against Sri Lanka. When bad light stopped play Bangladesh were 131/4 in their second innings still 135 behind the Sri Lankan first innings total. The not out batsman are Mohammad Ashraful 21* and night watchman Shahadat Hossain 0*. Dilhara Fernando has claimed 2/25.

Earlier Sri Lanka surprised most pundits by not declaring on their over night score of 449/7, to give their pace bowlers access to a lively pitch. That the pitch still offered assistance to the pace men was quickly demonstrated by Shahadat Hossain by clean bowling Muralitharan for 24 (his overnight score) and The left arm fast bowler Syed Rasel bowled Chamida Vass for 65 (Vass was 61 overnight). Sri Lanka quickly realised their error and declared at 457/9.

The Sri Lankan faster bowlers found the pitch helpful to swing and seam, and despite some determined resistance from the Bangladesh top order, Lasith Malinga and Dilhara Fernando soon reduced them to 72/4. The young batting star Mohammad Ashraful then played a little cameo of an innings, striking 42 from just 41 balls, including 5 fours and 2 sixes. Ashraful’s innings was notable for some wristy stroke play and also featured some classical cover drives. He received some dour, but important support from Aftab Ahmed 23 and the Wicket Keeper Khaled Mashud 26. Fernando was the pick of the bowlers claiming 5/60. Muralitharan mopped up the tail claiming 3/47.

All out for 191 and forced to follow on Bangladesh were reduced to 56/3 again by the fast men this time Vaas started the Bangladesh demise by claiming the wicket of Javed Omar, this was surprisingly the first wicket Vaas has claimed in this Test match, especially with conditions so favourable to the pacemen. A hard fought defiant fourth wicket partnership of 75 by the hero of the first innings Mohammad Ashrafu and Shahriar Nafees, looked set to give Bangladesh a chance to force Sri Lanka to bat again, but as he has done so many times Muralitharan broke through late in the day dismissing Nafees for 51.

Another three day Test is the most likely result, this would be a little misleading as Bangladesh have shown some real fight during the match. They have also unearthed a couple of really exciting pace bowlers in left arm Syed Rasel and right arm Shahadat Hossain. They are 21 and 19 respectively, and should provide the basis for a good bowling attack in the future.

Day 1 Sri Lanka 449/7

Day 2 Bangladesh 191 and 131/4 Mohammad Ashraful 21*, Shahadat Hossai 0*)

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