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Bangladesh made a solid start in reply to Sri Lanka’s hefty first innings total of 494, reaching 133 for two at stumps on day two of the first Test on Wednesday.
After Kusal Mendis had posted a brilliant 194 for Sri Lanka, Bangladesh openers Soumya Sarkar and Tamim Iqbal put on 118 for the first wicket on a flat track before Iqbal was run out in bizarre fashion by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella for 57.
Sarkar was unbeaten on 66, with his knock including seven fours and a six. He benefited from being dropped early on at gully by Dilruwan Perera off the bowling of Suranga Lakmal. Iqbal was also dropped, by Dickwella off Perera, when he was on 28.
It was Bangladesh’s best opening partnership against Sri Lanka, but the hosts finished strongly to lead by 361 runs heading into day three.
Iqbal gave his wicket away when he took a few steps forward without realizing the wicketkeeper had the ball in his hand, and Dickwella was quick to whip the bails off. Mominul Haque, who averages close to 50, was then snared LBW by Perera for 7, leaving Mushfiqur Rahim at the crease overnight on 1.
Earlier, the 22-year-old Mendis looked set to become the second youngest Sri Lankan to score a double ton after Mahela Jayawardene, but holed out going for a six. Iqbal caught him at long-on, threw the ball in the air, regained his composure and came back to collect the catch cleanly.
It was test best score for Mendis, improving on the 176 he made against Australia last year. He batted for more than seven hours and faced 285 deliveries in a fluent innings containing 19 boundaries and four sixes.
He had been dismissed off a no ball before he had scored a run, and then got a reprieve on 175 when he hooked Subashis Roy and Mustafizur Rahman at fine-leg took the catch, but stepped over the boundary rope.
Mendis added 110 runs for the fifth wicket with Dickwella, who scored 75, as Sri Lanka piled on the runs in the morning to reach 443 for six at lunch.
Dickwella also posted his test best score before becoming Mehedi Hasan’s third victim when he mistimed a shot and was caught at short third man by Mahmudullah Riyad. His entertaining innings contained six boundaries and a six. It was his second half-century.
Bangladesh snared the last four wickets for 37 runs to keep Sri Lanka under 500, with nineteen-year-old off-spinner Hasan finishing with four wickets.
Asela Gunaratne (85) and Perera (51) also posted half-centuries for the home side.