The first day in Chittagong ended much like the second day in Mirpur had. Then too, with Sri Lanka on 375 for five, there were hopes that Bangladesh could wrap it up quickly. That is the hope now with Sri Lanka ending on 314 for five, but Bangladesh will further hope to avoid the spate of dropped chances and a double-century from a seasoned Sri Lankan -- in Mirpur it was Mahela Jayawardene, in Chittagong it is Kumar Sangakkara -- if they are to have any hope of levelling the series.
Bangladesh all-rounder Mahmudullah Riyad was well aware of the importance of starting strongly.
“Everything depends on the start tomorrow (Tuesday). If we can take two early wickets then we would be breaking into their tail,” said Riyad at the post-day press conference.
“It is a little tough to make predictions about this wicket. We hope that there will be spin. This morning it spun for a while with the new ball while it didn't during the middle period and then turned again with the (second) new ball.
“We have to work harder. Sangakkara is looking very good so his wicket will be crucial,” he added.
While the hosts made a good start -- they reduced the visitors to 49 for 2 -- they were blown away by a 178-run stand for the third wicket between Sangakkara and Jayawardene. Riyad admitted that the hosts got bogged down a bit in the middle session.
“There were times when we did miss the length. Sometimes when the ball doesn't turn, spinners get frustrated. We did bowl a few bad balls but when we regrouped, the discussion was about containing the runs and that's why we came back well at the end of the day,” said Riyad.
Riyad himself broke the stand by trapping Jayawardene plumb in front in the 71st over -- a crucial dismissal that broke the flow and led to two more wickets at the end of the day
“At that time (during the stand) Gazi and I were bowling. Since the ball was not spinning and they were playing comfortably, we tried to contain them. We waited for them to play a bad shot and fortunately a breakthrough came our way,” said Riyad
“It is not being defensive, just a different tactic. They are good players of spin, so it becomes necessary to contain the runs when there's no turn at all,” he added.
In the lead-up to this Test, there has been much talk about whether the hosts can come back into this series. Well, the stage has been set for a turnaround, it all now depends on whether the actors can play their rightful roles.