Sri Lanka strengthened its grip on the second Test against Bangladesh by increasing its lead to 312 runs in its second innings on day two Friday.
Sri Lanka was 200-8 at stumps, after taking a 112-run lead on the first innings.
Roshen Silva was 58 not out, his second fifty in the match, and Suranga Lakmal on 7.
If Bangladesh is to win, it will have to shatter its highest successful fourth-innings chase of 215 in 2009 against the West Indies.
More likely, Sri Lanka looks set to record a 16th win in 20 Tests against Bangladesh, as early as Saturday. That would also claim the series, as the first Test at Chittagong was drawn last weekend.
Silva said Sri Lanka can’t believe Bangladesh has offered a pitch which suits the visitors’ strengths.
“Sri Lanka has a good spin attack. I don’t know why they gave a wicket like this,” he said.
“I don’t think it is possible to get more than 300 runs on this wicket. It is common sense but cricket is a funny game. We bowled them out for 100 and we wanted to get more than 300-plus runs (as a target) actually. We passed it. Tomorrow morning we will add as much runs as possible to the target.”
Bangladesh allrounder Mehidy Hasan believed his side could pull off a record chase.
“The pitch hasn’t deteriorated as much as we thought. It’s possible to chase a 300-plus total here,” Mehidy said.
“We have the belief. We almost chased 200 runs in Sri Lanka to win a match. On Sri Lanka’s soil it is always tough to chase something like 200, so when we can chase almost 200 in Sri Lanka why can’t we chase 300-plus in our own backyard?”
Fourteen wickets fell for the second straight day, including five for three runs that wrapped up Bangladesh’s innings in a hurry.
“They,” Mehidy said, “put the ball in right areas more consistently that we do.”
Silva’s fourth half-century in just his third Test held together the Sri Lanka second innings as the Bangladesh bowlers struck regularly on a pitch offering turn and bounce aplenty.
He hit nine fours in his almost chanceless knock, facing 94 balls as his teammates struggled in the middle.
Bangladesh didn’t help its cause by dropping seven catches.
After Bangladesh was dismissed for 110, opener Dimuth Karunaratne gave Sri Lanka a solid start with Dhananjaya de Silva, who made 28.
Karunaratne contributed 32 before he was out after tea to the offspin of Mehidy, who took 2-29.
Silva combined with captain Dinesh Chandimal, 30, for 51 runs to extend their dominance.
Mehidy broke the resistance of Chandimal with a delivery that kept low, and pace bowler Mustafizur, 3-35, shook up the lower order but Silva remained solid.
Earlier, Bangladesh resumed its first innings on 56-4 and ended on 110 when it collapsed suddenly, losing 5-3 in three overs to give Sri Lanka a big lead. Mehidy Hasan top-scored with an unbeaten 38.
Akila Dananjaya took 3-20, Lakmal 3-25 and Dilruwan Perera 2-32.