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BAN v SL
World Test Championship

Sri Lankan openers put game in balance after Mushfiqur's marathon innings

BAN v SL, second Test, day two, report

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Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne’s unbeaten 70 and Oshada Fernando’s 57 helped Sri Lanka get off to a decent start as they ended the day’s play at 143/2, still trailing by 222 runs.

After finishing their first innings at 365, thanks to Mushfiqur Rahim’s unbeaten 175, Bangladesh struggled to pick wickets early on as Sri Lankan openers put up a 94-run opening stand. However, Ebadot Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan scalped the wickets of Fernando and Kusal Mendis respectively, helping Bangladesh put up a fightback late in the final session.

Earlier in the opening session of Day 2, Sri Lankan pacers kept the set batters Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim under check. They bowled at the right lengths and soon got their reward when they broke Liton and Mushfiqur's epic sixth-wicket partnership.

Kasun Rajitha removed Liton on 141, who could only add six runs to his overnight score. The right-hander succumbed to an offside-off delivery off Rajitha, edging it straight to the hands of the slip fielder. The pacer secured his maiden five-for later in the same over by dismissing Mossadek Hossain for a duck.

After two quick wickets, Mushfiqur steadied the ship with a crucial 49-run partnership with Taijul Islam. He shifted gears and started attacking the spinners en route to his 150.

Asitha Fernando then struck twice in quick succession, removing Taijul for 15 and Khaled Ahmed on a duck. Fernando got a nick off Taijul's gloves with a well-directed bouncer which went straight to the wicketkeeper's hand. Khaled was similarly caught off guard by Fernando's short delivery.

With Sri Lanka just a wicket away from bowling out Bangladesh, the umpires decided to extend the session by half an hour. Mushfiqur in the last half hour avoided singles and kept strike to himself as Bangladesh went to lunch at 361/9.

The final wicket came immediately after the lunch break as Mushfiiqur in an attempt to keep the strike, attempted a double, but Ebadot Hossain (0) was run-out at the non-striker’s end, thanks to a brilliant throw by Karunaratne from long-on. Hossain's wicket brought the hosts' innings to a close at 365 with Rahim stranded on 175*.

The Sri Lankan openers got off to a good start in their first innings, scoring 84 runs in the afternoon session without losing a wicket. Fernando, who was unlucky to get run out in the first Test, remained unbeaten on 52 in the afternoon session. Karunaratne, at the other end, took his time to get going and remained unbeaten at 31 as the openers took Sri Lanka to tea unscathed at 84/0.

Early in the third session, Sri Lanka lost Fernando to Ebadot, who provided the much-needed breakthrough for Bangladesh. Fernando tried to slash an outside off delivery but it went straight into the hands of the first slip.

Karunaratne remained patient and went on to complete his 29th Test half-century. Kusal Mendis though, after batting through the majority of the session, lost his wicket with Shakib, who trapped him in front of the wickets.

Karunaratne (70*) then batted through the remaining overs with nightwatchman Rajitha (0*) keeping him company as the visitors finished the day at 143/2, still trailing by 222 runs.

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