Faced with the daunting task of having to bat out two days and see off a near-500 run lead, Bangladesh batsmen failed to meet the challenge and succumbed to a huge innings-defeat shortly after lunch on Day 4 of the Dhaka Test.
Match Report: 1st Test: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Day 4 at Dhaka, January 30, 2014
Riding on the back of a huge first-innings score and some reckless batting from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka completed their second biggest Test victory by an innings at Dhaka. Even though, a lead of 498 runs meant that the game was well and truly in Sri Lanka’s grasp, the Bangladesh batsmen batted with unneeded aggression, showing no signs that they ever wanted to take the game to the 5th day, let alone thinking about saving it.
To give credit to the Sri Lankan bowlers, most of the wickets in the 1st session were due to some smart bowling from the visitors, which was made even more effective due to the hara-kiri attitude of the hosts. It was the fast bowlers who began the proceedings for the visitors early on. Opening batsman Shamsur Rahman fell very early, on the 2nd ball of the morning, a ripper of a ball from Shaminda Eranga. Suranga Lakmal soon joined the party and removed Marshall Ayub for 18.
Young Mominul Haque and Shakib al Hasan tried to counter attack, adding 52 runs run-a-ball for the 4th wicket before Shakib was trapped leg before by Dilruwan Perera. Mominul continued in the same vein and reached his 3rd Test fifty in 52 balls. But Perera, like tragedy, struck again- removing Mominul and captain Mushfiqur Rahim in quick succession. Bangladesh were reeling at 150/6 at the lunch break, and Sri Lanka sniffed their biggest victory ever.
The lower-order tried to resist and the tail threatened to wag but the Bangladesh batsmen failed to build any solid partnerships. Perera continued toaway wickets at regular intervals and was ably supported by the seamers. Lakmal accounted for Sohag Gazi, who scored a quickfire 23, and Robiul Islam, while Perera removed the last remaining specialist batsman Nasir Hossain for 29. At 9/197, it looked game over for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were almost certain to wrap up their biggest ever Test win.
However, the numbers 10 and 11 for Bangladesh, the two unrelated Hossains - Rubel and Al-Amin - chose this moment to frustrate the Sri Lankans a bit. The two launched a much-belated counter-attack scoring boundaries at will. Al-Amin, playing in his 2nd Test, hit four huge sixes in his 18-ball 32. Eventually, Rubel fell to Perera, giving the off-spinner his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket, and Sri Lanka a well-deserved victory. Mahela Jayawardene was adjudged the Man of the Match for his unbeaten double hundred.
Sri Lanka will be more than happy with this victory. It was an all-round team performance where very department performed its job- the batsmen scored runs, the bowlers took regular wickets, and the fielders held on to the catches. Bangladesh were outplayed comprehensively, but they only had themselves to blame. On a batting wicket, they lacked the application required in a Test match. Their over-aggressive tendencies were exploited easily by the visitors.
Sri Lanka now lead the two match series 1-0 and Bangladesh will have a lot of introspection to do before the 2nd Test begins in Chittagong in 5 days’ time.
Scorecard: Sri Lanka 730/6d (Mahela Jayawardene 203*, Kaushal Silva 139, Vithanage 103*) beat Bangladesh 232 (Mushfiq 61, Eranga 4/49) and 250 (Mominul 50, Dilruwan Perera 5/109) by an innings and 248 runs
Man of the Match: Mahela Jayawardene (SL)
Image: Bleacher Report