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Karunaratne century keeps Bangladesh at bay

Sri Lanka ends fourth day on 268 for 8, eking out a slim lead of 139 in second Test
Shakib Al Hasan led the charge for Bangladesh by picking up three wickets which included the key wicket of Dimuth Karunaratne

Mustafizur Rahman and Shakib Al Hasan shared six wickets between them as Bangladesh grabbed the advantage, but Sri Lanka fought back through Dimuth Karunaratne's battling century on Day 4 of the second Test in Colombo on Saturday (March 18).

Karunaratne, the opener, made 126, staying for 244 balls and being the seventh wicket to fall. He held up one end while Dilruwan Perera, the No.8 batsman, also provided staunch resistance. Perera was unbeaten on a 126-ball 26 at stumps, with Sri Lanka 268 for 8, having extended its overall lead to 139.

Rangana Herath, who made 9 off 32 at No.9, and Suranga Lakmal, who was batting on 16 not out at stumps, both gave good support to Perera as Sri Lanka mounted a recovery form 190 for 6, giving the home team's bowlers a bigger total to fight with in the fourth innings.

Bangladesh struck in the day‘s second over through Mehedi Hasan, who spun one sharply to bowl Upul Tharanga for 26 after Sri Lanka resumed on 54 for no loss.

Dimuth Karunaratne played a composed knock and bought up his 126 from 244 balls studded with ten boundaries and a six
Dimuth Karunaratne played a composed knock and bought up his 126 from 244 balls studded with ten boundaries and a six

But Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis shared a partnership of 86 runs for the second wicket to help Sri Lanka wipe out its first innings deficit and put the team in a position to set up a good target for Bangladesh.

Mustafizur helped Bangladesh bounce back with quick strikes in his second spell as Mendis edged an angular ball outside off-stump to Mushfiqur Rahim, the wicketkeeper, for 36. Five overs later it was the turn of Dinesh Chandimal, the first-innings centurion, who was caught behind for five.

Asela Gunaratne was adjudged leg-before for seven off Shakib without offering any shot before Mustafizur struck again to dismiss Dhananjaya de Silva a duck. Niroshan Dickwella then gave Mushfiqur his fourth catch down the leg off Shakib to depart for five.

Karunaratne reached his fifth Test century with an edge off Mustafizur flying to the third man boundary but he fell in the final session edging Shakib to Soumya Sarkar at slip.

Perera batted with grit but Taijul Islam removed Herath, who was equally stubborn.

Mustafizur claimed 3 for 52 for Bangladesh while Shakib finished the day with 3 for 61.

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