'Have to keep the ball new'
Of the three days of the second Test at the P Sara Oval in Colombo so far, the home side have ended two at a disadvantage. The second of those came about on the third day yesterday with Bangladesh leading by 75 runs in the first innings on a pitch that is expected to help the likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Taijul Islam the longer the match goes.
But it will also help chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandaka, the man who gave Sri Lanka their only day so far in the Test with three wickets in the evening session of Day Two, including two off successive balls. He added the wicket of centurion Shakib Al Hasan yesterday to finish with figures of four for 140, continuing to be a thorn in the side of Bangladesh's batsmen, all of whom have struggled to read his wrong'un out of the hand.
"It depends on the batsman. If you don't have much experience facing a left-arm chinaman, it's a bit difficult for you, I think," Sandakan said when asked if the rarity of his style of bowling was an advantage.
"I think they batted really well today," said Sandakan after Bangladesh had piled on 467 in response to Sri Lanka's first-innings score of 338. "The wicket got slow -- but they batted well. Shakib and the debutant batsman [Mosaddek, who scored 75] capitalised with big scores.
"The wicket became a bit slow, and when the newness of the ball goes, there's nothing much from the pitch. You have to toil a bit here and work hard. If you keep the ball as new as possible, I think the spinners have a good chance here."
Bangladesh also benefited from Sri Lanka's profligacy when fielding on the boundary and also three dropped chances -- one off Imrul and two off Shakib, the first of which was off Sandakan's bowling late on Thursday when Shakib was on eight.
"It's not a new thing for a bowler. Whether you play club cricket or school cricket, catches can be missed. Maybe the catch goes up because it's a very good ball, so I try to look at the positives and keep trying to bowl good balls."
Despite the 129-run first-innings deficit, Sandakan was confident that Sri Lanka's batsmen could turn things around.
“We'll have to bat really well tomorrow. We have a big opportunity and I'm sure our batsmen will turn the match in our favour."