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Bangladesh force draw with Sri Lanka in Chittagong

The first Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka ends in a draw as Mominul Haque and Liton Das' 180-run partnership wards off defeat for the hosts.
Liton Das

At the start of the final day in Chittagong Sri Lanka would have been relatively confident of forcing a result. But first-innings hero Mominul Haque (105) scored his second century of the match and combined with Liton Das (94) to put on 180 runs and ensure defeat was never on the cards for the hosts.

Much like in the first-innings when he scored 176, Mominul was the fulcrum of Bangladesh's batting. With Tamim Iqbal (41), Imrul Kayes and Mushfiqur Rahim sent back in the dug-out in the closing stages of day four, it was left to Mominul to steady the ship on day five, and he did so with great skill.

On a flat Chittagong wicket offering little assistance for the bowlers, Mominul looked at relative ease throughout his 174-ball stay. Sri Lanka's spinners toiled, with Rangana Herath (2/80) and Dilruwan Perera (1/74) bowling 54 overs between them, but they were denied the early wickets they required to make the game interesting.

Mominul Haque and Liton Das put on 180 runs together to make the game safe for Bangladesh
Mominul Haque and Liton Das put on 180 runs together to make the game safe for Bangladesh

Mominul was threatened early on by some slow spin, but once he had got his eye in and smashed Herath into the stands for a straight six he settled into his task. Das, who received a first-ball duck in the first-innings, was much more assured this time around, chewing up 182 balls and batting for close to 50 overs alongside Mominul.

Both middle order batsman eventually fell in quick succession before tea, with Mominul edging Dhananjaya de Silva to slip and Das skying one off Herath, but captain Mahmudullah (28*) and the more circumspect Mosaddek Hossain steadied the ship. The two took Bangladesh's lead beyond the 100-run mark before the captains eventually shook hands with Bangladesh's second innings reaching 100 overs.

Sri Lanka searched for wickets, but couldn't force a win in Chittagong
Sri Lanka searched for wickets, but couldn't force a win in Chittagong

Ultimately the batsman-friendly nature of the Chittagong pitch made it very difficult for bowlers to make inroads. Overall, there were 1533 runs scored in the Test match, with only 24 out of the possible 40 wickets taken. Mominul led the run-scoring with two centuries, with three Sri Lankans - Kusal Mendis (196), de Silva (173) and Roshen Silva (109) - also making three-figures.

There was a personal achievement for Mominul, too, with the 26-year-old becoming the first Bangladeshi to hit a century in both innings of a Test match, passing 2000 Test runs in the process.

After this stalemate, the two-Test series will be decided in Dhaka on 8 February. Bangladesh have called up Sabbir Rahman into their squad for the second Test. Rahman, a right-handed middle-order strokemaker, will provide greater depth to Bangladesh’s batting stocks. He has played 10 Tests to date, with four fifties and a highest score of 66; Bangladesh fans will remember his 64* on debut in 2016, which almost took them to a first-ever Test victory over England. Sunzamul Islam and Rubel Hossain have been left out from the squad that was picked for the first Test.

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Standings

Group A

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 England 3 +1.045 6
2 Bangladesh 3 +0.000 3
3 Australia 3 -0.992 2
4 New Zealand 3 -1.058 1

Group B

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 India 3 +1.370 4
2 Pakistan 3 -0.680 4
3 South Africa 3 +0.167 2
4 Sri Lanka 3 -0.798 2

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