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Mushfiqur Rahim
World Test Championship

Mushfiqur Rahim makes history as the Chattogram Test hangs in balance

BAN v SL, 1st Test, Day 4, report

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The veteran Bangladesh batter headlined the action on day four of the Chattogram Test, helping his side take an advantageous first-innings lead before the hosts' bowlers reduced Sri Lanka to 39/2 at stumps.

Bangladesh had taken a 68-run lead in the final session of day four before they were forced to declare their first innings on 465. Mushfiqur Rahim highlighted the action on the day as he completed 5000 Test runs – the first from his country – and followed it up with an impressive ton. 

An emotional Rahim spoke after play and said reaching the 5000-run milestone had taken its toll on him.

"Only in Bangladesh, I have seen that people compare me to Bradman when I score a century, but then when I don't score runs I feel like digging a hole for myself," he said.

"I am one of the senior players so we are not going to be around for long. But this is becoming a culture, so the younger players need the support.

"If I have to spend so much time tackling these things off the field, our on-field duties get affected.

"I think there's no value for experience in Bangladesh. It is a huge deal to have played for 17 years.

"It is a great feeling to become the first Bangladeshi to reach 5,000 Test runs. But I am sure I am not the last one.

"There’ll be a lot of capable players among our seniors and juniors who can reach 8,000 or 10,000 runs."

Earlier, the play resumed after a 30-minute delay due to rain with the hosts on 318/3. The Bangladesh batters Liton Das and Rahim continued their dominance as they batted through the morning session to put Sri Lanka under pressure. 

Rahim, who was 15 runs away from reaching 5000 runs in Test cricket, achieved the milestone. He appeared more determined after reaching the milestone and batted with grit and patience, while Liton, on the other hand, kept his cool and took his time settling in the middle.

The Sri Lankan bowlers bowled some tight lines but didn't get any wickets; nonetheless, they were able to keep the run rate under control in the morning session, conceding only 67 runs with Bangladesh's scorecard reading 385/3 at lunch, still trailing Sri Lanka by 12 runs.

Immediately after the lunch break came respite for Sri Lanka as Kasun Rajihta scalped two wickets in the first two deliveries of the session. He first snared the prized scalp of Liton, who went chasing after a short and wide delivery from Rajitha but only managed to edge it to the wicketkeeper, falling for a well-made 88.

Rajitha's next victim was Tamim Iqbal(133), who had got retired hurt on the previous day. He returned to the crease but immediately walked back as the Sri Lanka pacer, from round the wicket, angled in a fullish length delivery that burst through Iqbal’s bat and pad gap to dislodge the bails.

Rahim now once again had the task of rebuilding Bangladesh's innings as Shakib Al Hasan came out to accompany him. After two quick wickets, the Sri Lankan bowlers were charged up and created pressure on the new batter, Shakib. However, the left-hander survived when he was on 9; he edged one off Ramesh Mendis to the short leg fielder, who claimed to have taken the catch, but the soft signal from the umpire backed by the not-out decision of the third umpire saved Shakib.

Shakib then in an attempt to break the shackles stepped out and charged against Ramesh to hit him for a four down the ground. He then collected another four off Rajitha with a beautiful shot over covers. Asitha Fernando was then introduced to the attack and took the wicket of Shakib in his second over of the session. The left-hander on 26 attempted to guide a short delivery from Asitha over the wicketkeeper, but he failed to do so, edging it into the gloves of Dickwella.

Asitha continued to deploy short balls against new batter Nayeem Hasan and Rahim. The veteran batter completed his eighth Test century with a boundary towards fine leg before Bangladesh went for Tea at 436/6 with Rahim unbeaten on 104 and Nayeem keeping him company on 4.

After the break, Sri Lanka finally had claimed the wicket of Rahim while he was attempting to sweep Lasith Embuldeniya, mistiming the shot as he got bowled around the legs with his gritty innings coming to an end on 105.

Sri Lanka soon availed the new ball and Dhananjaya de Silva came up with his first breakthrough by dismissing Nayeem on 9. Taijul Islam scored 20 runs before he succumbed to a short delivery off Asitha. Bangladesh with the lead of 68 runs had to declare their first innings as Shoriful Islam, after taking a blow on his hand, was forced to retire hurt.

Bangladesh reduced Sri Lanka to 39/2 in 17.1 overs before stumps were called. After escaping a near return catch from Nayeem, the hosts' skipper Dimuth Karunaratne remained unbeaten on 18, but the other opener Oshada Fernando (19) was unlucky to get run out at the non-striker's end after a miscommunication between the batters.

The day's play came to a close with Taijul dismissing nightwatchman Embuldeniya for 2. 

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