Mahmudullah steadies Bangladesh again after morning strikes

Lunch Bangladesh 467 for 7 (Mahmudullah 49*, Sunzamul 23*, Lakmal 2-63, Herath 2-129) v Sri Lanka

Rangana Herath imposed himself for the first time in the match, removing Mominul Haque and Mosaddek Hossain, but an unbeaten 50-run eighth wicket stand between Mahmudullah and Sunzamul Islam ensured that Bangladesh remained on track for a total of over 500.

Sri Lanka would have been desperate for at least one more wicket before the break, because although there was more turn in the surface than had been seen for large parts of day one, perhaps this was a result of moisture having built up overnight. As was the case yesterday, the pitch may flatten out very quickly after lunch, meaning they may have to work hard to dismiss the tail.

Mominul would have begun the day with hopes of completing a maiden double ton, but in fact, faced only ten balls before falling softly. Attempting to clip a Herath delivery to the leg side, Mominul was beaten slightly in the flight, and played his stroke a little late. The result was a thick inside edge that hit short leg in the shoulder, before the fielder there – Kusal Mendis – completed a sharp reflex catch. Mominul had added only one run to his overnight score of 175.

The wicket of Mosaddek, soon after, was the result of a Herath-working over. Bowling a series of flighted, gripping deliveries that straightened from about off stump, Herath sensed that Mosaddek might venture an aggressive stroke, and fired a ball into his legs. Having come down the pitch to hit the bowler down the ground, Mosaddek could only send the ball to mid-on, who barely moved. The score now on 390 for 6, Bangladesh had lost their last four wickets for 36 runs – two of those dismissals having come late on day one.

Mahmudullah and the lower order overcame the difficult period to ensure the stutter did not become a collapse, however. They were not as aggressive as Bangladesh’s top order had been on day one, but nor were they tied down for extended periods. Venturing occasionally down the pitch, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan and Sunzamul, struck calculated blows over the infield, and made use of the gaps in the deep the rest of the time. Mehidy and Mahmudullah struck a six apiece over cow corner, while Sunzamul – tested sorely by Lakshan Sandakan – mustered one boundary down the ground, as he moved to 23 by the break.

Bangladesh’s scoreline might have been even better had Mehidy not attempted an ill-judged third run when he and Mahmudullah were meshing well together. Lahiru Kumara’s accurate throw from third man caught Mehidy a few inches from his crease, to the surprise of even the Sri Lanka fielders, who had appealed with little conviction.

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