Mendis restricts Bangladesh to 208, Sri Lanka on top
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Event:Sri Lanka in Bangladesh 2008/09

DateLine: 4th January 2009


Sri Lanka began the day looking for the 400 run mark and most probably for a score around 450, Kapugedera was also eying his maiden century and he had with him Vaas, who is also a capable bat. But what they might not have envisaged was the collapse that they were going to have. The Bangladesh bowlers Mortaza and Shakib swept away the remaining four wickets to wrap up the innings and Sri Lanka were all out for 384. Chamara Kapugedera resumed on 93 but fell lbw to Shakib on 96 while Mashrafe Mortaza also chipped in with the wicket of Chaminda Vaas and Sri Lanka folded for 384, with Shakib returning figures of 4 for 109.


The procession of wickets continued when Bangladesh batted. Tamim Iqbal fell in the first over, nicking a Vaas delivery that seamed away sharply. The other opener, Imrul Kayes, survived a while longer but was trapped by the one coming in. Vaas was again the bowler.


Ajantha Mendis was asked to bowl as early as ninth over ahead of Muralitharan, and this confirmed the theory that he is being encouraged to take up the mantle of the strike bowler. He wasn't getting too much turn but it took him only a couple of overs to strike - Raqibul Hasan was trapped by a flighted, straight delivery. Mohammad Ashraful and Junaid Siddique using contrasting methods, blunted Mendis to some extent. After the break for eight overs the pair looked comfortable. The runs were coming in trickle but the important factor was that the pair was able to keep Mendis and Fernando at bay with some dour batting. But just when they were getting into the comfort zone, Fernando yorkered Siddique as he was beaten for pace. Ashraful was joined by Mehrab Hossain jnr and again the pair had to start rebuilding the innings.


The pair looked fairly comfortable and they were not ultra-aggressive. The scoreboard moved in ones and twos with the occasional boundary thrown in. But then Mendis ruptured the innings once again with his now famous carrom ball. Mehrab Hossain jnr was trapped lbw and Shakib Al Hasan was squared up by the one that straightened after pitching, which skidded off the pitch. Two wickets in two balls and the innings was in tatters. The possibility of following was rising on the horizon. Mushfiqur Rahim survived the hattrick ball and Ashraful sensing the threat of follow on quickly shed the garb of defense and donned the attacking garb. runs now began to flow with boundaries scored and even a huge six of Murali over deep midwicket.


But Murali had his revenge when he had Ashraful caught by the keeper when he attempted a reverse sweep. Mushfiqur Rahim then took up the mantle of the senior batsmen and took the score to 131 for 7 by tea, with the possibility of follow on looming. After the break Rahim departed when Mendis had him stumped and it seemed that Sri Lanka might enforce the follow-on soon. But what followed was something Sri Lanka couldn't fathom. The last pair, Mortaza and Hossain batted with gusto, determination and a little bit of bravery thrown in. The pair helped Bangladesh to avert the follow on.


Mortaza and Hossain added a partnership of 63 runs in around 19 overs and Mortaza played well for his 63 as he did the bulk of the scoring. Hossain remained unbeaten on 5. The pair batted with a plan and their first objective was averting the follow on and after that was accomplished, Mortaza began to open up his shoulders and spanked the spin duo all around the park. Twice he deposited the spinners over the onside boundary and when he attempted another maximum he got dismissed. The temperament on show from these two tailenders were exemplary and the way they tackled the spin duo was an eye-opener. Finally when Mortaza got out trying for another six Bangladesh had scored 208 with the deficit down to 176.


The Sri Lankan openers were out in the middle to face tricky five overs. Openers Warnapura and keeper Jayawardene saw off the five overs without much issues and the Lankan score read 13 for no loss in 5 overs with an overall lead of 189 runs.



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