Dinesh Chandimal rode his luck to score an unbeaten half-century for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh in Colombo Wednesday after the tourists made a dream start to their 100th Test match.
The home side reached 238-7 before bad light stopped the opening day’s play, recovering from 70-4 on a turning pitch at the P. Sara Oval, owing mainly to Chandimal's patient 86 not out.
Chandimal shared a 66-run stand with Dhananjaya de Silva and then added 44 and 43 runs with Niroshan Dickwella and captain Rangana Herath to halt what had been a quick procession of wickets.
Chandimal, who faced 210 balls and hit four fours in his knock, was given out lbw on 38 off the bowling of left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan but the decision was overturned following a review.
He then top-edged another left-arm spinner Taijul Islam to fine leg on 46 but was given a benefit of the doubt by the third umpire as TV replays on whether Mehedi Hasan had caught him cleanly were inconclusive.
Coming into the side for Lahiru Kumara as Sri Lanka's only change from their 259-run win in the first Test in Galle, de Silva gave Chandimal good support before he was bowled by Taijul for 34.
Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella chipped in with 34 after de Silva's departure before Herath joined Chandimal in his effort to give Sri Lanka innings a decent look.
Herath, unbeaten on 18 at the close of play, also had his share of luck as he had an lbw decision overturned off Shakib.
Bangladesh were hoping to restrict Sri Lanka within 300 runs.
“We need to take three more wickets, and having already bowled seven good balls to take their wickets, we can keep them within 300,” said batsman Sabbir Rahman.
“We need to do it within the first hour of play tomorrow.”
Bangladesh, sent into bowl first by Herath, had taken the honours in the opening session as off-spinner Mehedi struck twice and fast bowlers Mustafizur Rahman and Subashis Roy took one wicket apiece.
- Milestone Test -
Mustafizur put the visitors in good heart in their milestone Test when he forced an edge from opener Dimuth Karunaratne, having cranked up the pressure by bowling three successive maidens.
Mehedi took a brilliant catch at gully as Karunaratne departed after making just seven runs.
Mehedi then struck in his third over, enticing Kusal Mendis out of his crease before Mushfiqur Rahim completed a stumping.
Mendis was the man-of-the-match in the first Test in Galle after scoring 194 but he departed this time having scored just five.
Sri Lanka's troubles deepened when Upul Tharanga edged Mehedi to Soumya Sarkar at slip for 15 after earlier being given a reprieve by a television replay when he was given out lbw off Mustafizur for six.
Chandimal and Asela Gunaratne tried to revive the innings but Subashis struck on the stroke of lunchtime when he trapped Gunaratne lbw for 13.
Bangladesh, in their quest to draw level in the second match of the two-Test series, made four changes to the squad.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Liton Das was ruled out on the eve of the match with a rib fracture, allowing Mosaddek Hossain to earn his debut.
Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah and Taskin Ahmed made way for Imrul Kayes, Sabbir and Taijul.