Chandimal keeps Bangladesh at bay

Published : 9:34 am  March 16, 2017 | No comments so far |  |  (417) reads | 

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By Shehan Daniel
Dinesh Chandimal closed in on his eighth Test century before bad light forced an early end to the first-day of the Second Test against Bangladesh at the P. Sara Oval yesterday.
Chandimal’s fine innings took a precariously placed Sri Lanka to a position of respectability by stumps in this historic match which was Bangladesh’s 100th Test. Sri Lanka reached 238 for seven when play ended after being reduced to 70 for four in the first session with Chandimal on 86 and Captain Rangana Herath on 18, together putting on an unbeaten 43 runs. 
Chandimal, who came into bat in the 12th over when Sri Lanka were 22 for two at that stage, took on a patient approach, facing 210 balls and scoring just four boundaries but more importantly his partnerships with middle order batsmen helped rebuild his team’s innings. 
His innings was not without slices of luck, benefitting from an upheld review in the 39th over, when he was adjudged caught behind off Shakib al Hasan. 
Television Umpire Marais Erasmus overturned the on-field Umpire S. Ravi’s decision as there was not enough evidence to conclude that the batsman had indeed edged it. 
Six overs later, he top-edged the ball to fine-leg, and while the fielder Mehedi Hasan Miraz claimed the diving catch Erasmus concluded that there was not enough evidence to confirm a legal catch and overturn Aleem Dar’s soft-signal of not out. 
Not long after those reprieves, with the 110th ball he faced, Chandimal reached his 18th half-century, remaining unbeaten till stumps were drawn, six overs short of the allocated 90 overs for the day. 
Sri Lanka may have counted themselves lucky to have won the toss as their decision to play only one seamer on a pitch traditionally favouring fast bowlers could have severely backfired if they had to bowl first. 
Bangladesh Captain Mustafiq Rahim admitted his team would have batted had they won the toss, but it didn’t seem to bother the visitors that they did not, crippling the home team in the first session with a performance to match the occasion on the day Bangladesh played their 100th Test match.
Those four wickets were just reward for their frugality in the opening session removing Sri Lanka’s first three batsmen for 35 runs, and then the fourth at the stroke of lunch. 
A miserly six-over spell from Mustafizur Rahman set the tone for Bangladesh at the start of the innings with Sri Lanka managing just 13 runs in the first eight and a half overs, when Dimuth Karunaratne was caught at gully. 
It wasn’t a good day for the first Test centurions either as both Kusal Mendis and Upul Tharanga fell to spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz within the space of four overs. 
Mendis was stumped in the 12th over lunging forward and failing to reach the ball while Tharanga reached the ball but late, and edged to Soumya Sarkar at first-slip. 
A 35-run partnership between Asela Gunaratne and Chandimal steadied the Sri Lankan innings, though only momentarily, with the former trapped leg before four balls into the 28th over after which lunch was called. 
If those wickets were earned, the three wickets Sri Lanka lost after lunch were gifted, all falling against the run-of-play and from largely unforced errors. 
Dhananjaya de Silva, brought in at the expense of fast bowler Lahiru Kumara, and with a point to prove for his first Test omission, put on 66 runs for the fifth-wicket, batting with Chandimal for a large part of the session. 
But he misjudged the length attempting a pull shot, seven overs from the tea break, and was bowled for 34, a lucky break for Bangladesh.  
Niroshan Dickwella, who scored 34 off 37 balls, batted with Chandimal up to tea but was bowled around his legs by Shakib al Hasan five overs after attempting to reverse sweep a delivery that pitched outside leg-stump while ending a partnership of 44. 
With Sri Lanka on 195, Dilruwan Perera slashed at a ball outside off-stump that flew off the edge to Soumya Sarkar at slip giving Rahman his third wicket before Herath and Chandimal saw the hosts’ to the day’s end.