RECORDS TUMBLE IN PALLEKELE
Bangladesh's Test skipper Mominul Haque achieved his first hundred outside home soil, his eleventh overall, and his fourth against Sri Lanka. His previous best overseas score was 77 against South Africa in Potchefstroom in 2017.
Najmul Hossain Shanto became only the second batsman from the team to cross 150 in his maiden Test century. He struck 17 fours and a six in his 163 runs innings. Mominul is at the top of the list as he scored 181 runs against New Zealand in Chattogram in 2013.
Najmul and Mominul added 242 runs to record Bangladesh's fifth-highest partnership in any wicket and highest third-wicket partnership in Test overall. The previous record for the third-wicket partnership 236 in Chattogram in 2018 against Sri Lanka) was set up by Mominul and Mushfiqur Rahim. Shanto and Mominul's record-breaking partnership lasted 85.4 overs.
For the first time in his Test career left-handed Mominul played more than 300 deliveries in an innings. He made 127 off 304 balls, having struck 11 fours.
Bangladesh lost only two wickets in the first 100 overs of their innings, and the only instance of such feat for them was seen back in 2003 against Pakistan.
The Bangladesh batsmen showed dedication and urgency in sticking to their plan on the second day of the first Test against Sri Lanka in what turned out to be another good day out in the middle for the visitors, even as bad light at Kandy saw no play in the third session.
Both left-handers, Najmul Hossain and Mominul Haque, put a price on their wicket and that facet was not lost when the pair departed, which was an encouraging sign for the Tigers.
If Tamim Iqbal had set the tone with his array of strokes on the first day, taking the attack to the Lankan bowlers, Najmul and Mominul -- who started the day on 126 and 64 respectively – found composure and levelheadedness on their side to make the Lankan attack toil on a wicket that was not offering anything extra.
The Sri Lankan bowlers, for their part, had done more homework before Day Two as was evident from the more controlled line and length but the curbing the run-rate was also affected by both Najumul and Mominul not looking to force the issue and letting their advantage slip.
The duo put on the highest partnership for Bangladesh for the third wicket in Tests of 242 runs, beating the previous best of 236 runs by Mushfiqur Rahim and Mominul in Chattogram in 2018 against the same opposition. It was also the fifth best partnership for Bangladesh for any wicket, but most importantly, it was the second-highest partnership for the Tigers in Tests in terms of deliveries faced by a pair.
The Najmul-Mominul duo batted together for 514 deliveries, falling short of the most deliveries played in a partnership by four deliveries. That record still belongs to Mohammad Ashraful and Mushfiqur for their 267-run partnership in Galle back against Sri Lanka in 2013, when the duo negotiated 518 deliveries.
The record should speak volumes of the patience that was shown by both Najmul and Mominul. Mominul reached his first-ever overseas ton while Najmul reached the 150-run landmark before lunch. Najmul would perhaps rue the opportunity of missing out on a double ton as he played a Lahiru Kumara straight back to the bowler, playing the delivery too early. Before that, he had faced 378 deliveries during his resilient 168, laced with 17 fours and a six.
Mominul, whose ability to perform in away conditions have been questioned over and over in no uncertain terms due to his lack of big scores outside the country, notched his 11th Test ton; his first outside Bangladesh in a career spanning eight years -- a baffling statistics by any measure given his experience and technique.
His previous best score on Lankan soil had been 64, averaging just above 33 in three Tests. It was a joyous occasion for the left-hander when he cut Dhananjaya de Silva to backwards point -- one of his favourite scoring zones during the knock -- for four to pick up his maiden away ton. Dhananjaya would bag Mominul's scalp in the second session when a flighted delivery teased the left-hander for a drive that Mominul edged to slip, but not before determined 127 off 304 deliveries, featuring 11 fours.
Even with two wickets lost before tea, Mushfiqur and Liton Das would see out the short rain break and the eventual stoppage of play due to bad light with the former unbeaten on 43 and the latter on 25 as Bangladesh finished another good day.