Tigers face tough task
A second innings debacle once again haunted Bangladesh as the Tigers did exactly what Sri Lanka would have been hoping for by losing three wickets in the last hour of the fourth day to set the stage for the visitors to push for a result on the final day of the first Test.
Bangladesh finished the fourth day on 81 for 3 and are still trailing by 119 runs after the visitors took a first innings lead of 200 runs at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium in Chittagong yesterday.
Mushfiqur Rahim's dismissal on the final ball of the day served only to exacerbate Bangladesh's situation. The umpire called for a review which showed that the ball had hit Mushfiqur's bat before bouncing off his foot and into the hands of Kusal Mendis at silly point.
Coming into the second innings, openers Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal seemed restless and were looking to score runs off almost every delivery, which gave the Sri Lankan bowlers hope.
Despite the odd turn being generated from the rough areas of the pitch and a few deliveries keeping low, it was a still a good deck to bat on. However, Bangladesh's batsmen never looked like settling down to negotiate the final hour with a patient approach and ultimately paid the price.
Imrul, who made 19, was perhaps the worst offender of putting a small price tag on his wicket. He went for an unnecessary sweep, which Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal noted and combated with a fielder at short square leg immediately. However, Imrul still went for the sweep off the next delivery with the ball ending up in the arms of the fielder.
At the other end, Tamim was also keen to score runs and was often pushing for cheeky singles. However, his tendency to get bat on every delivery cost him when he edged a Lakshan Sandakan delivery miles outside the off stump. The left-hander's attempted defensive shot was edged to the wicketkeeper and he departed after scoring a 62-ball 41.
Mominul Haque, the centurion in the first innings, will face the daunting task of saving the game for the home side when he resumes the day on 18.
Earlier, Sri Lanka added a further 209 runs to their overnight score of 504 for three before declaring just after tea on 713 for 9, the second-highest total conceded by Bangladesh. The highest, 730 for 6, was also conceded against the same opposition at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur in 2014.
Overnight batsmen Roshen Silva and skipper Dinesh Chandimal looked to score quickly and stretch the lead as much as they could. Roshen, who was 13 runs shy of his maiden hundred, reached the feat without any difficulty in his second Test. But the right hander departed soon after, being caught behind off Mehedi Hasan Miraz's bowling for a 230-ball 109 which featured six fours and a six.
Niroshan Dickwella then joined his skipper and the duo kept the scoreboard ticking. Chandimal missed out on a hundred as he was bowled by Taijul Islam on 87; the ball going between the bat and pad.
Dickwella, after scoring a 61-ball 62, became left-arm spinner Sunzamul Islam's debut wicket and Sri Lanka declared soon after Taijul claimed his fourth wicket of the innings with Herath's scalp. The left-arm spinner finished with the figures of 4 for 219 from his 67.3 overs, in the process becoming part of a few records he would want to forget.
Taijul surpassed left-armer Mohammad Rafique's tally of two wickets for 181 runs -- conceded against India in 2007 -- to become the most expensive Bangladesh bowler in an innings. He also bowled the most number of overs by a Bangladeshi, exceeding Shakib Al Hasan, who had bowled 66 overs against England in 2010.