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Tigers start stout after SL to 397

Published : 16 May 2022 09:24 PM | Updated : 17 May 2022 12:47 PM

Angelo Mathews’ epic innings in the oppressive May heat of Chattogram led Sri Lanka to a decent total, but it was heartbreak for him as he was dismissed on 199, the 12th batter to record the score in the history of Test cricket. Sri Lanka put up 397, having started the day on 258 for 4, and Bangladesh replied well, Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudul Hasan Joy scoring 76 runs in 19 overs to finish the second day with the deficit down to 321 runs.

Tamim edged Asith to Kusal Mendis at second slip in the second over of the Bangladesh innings, but the fielder dropped the chance. It wouldn’t have counted anyway, as it was a no-ball. But it was a testing period for the openers, as Mahmudul, too, survived a couple of iffy moments. However, they stuck it out, getting Bangladesh to safety during a period of the match in which they struggled so much in South Africa last month.

Before Tamim (35*) and Mahmudul (31*) controlled the last hour-and-some of the day, Chattogram boy Nayeem Hasan returned career-best Test figures of 6 for 105 to keep Sri Lanka in check. He took early wickets on both days, but his big strike was Mathews, the last Sri Lankan wicket to fall. It was the last ball of the 153rd over, and Mathews, who faced 397 balls across two days, played a tired-looking hoick towards midwicket, where Shakib Al Hasan took an easy catch.

Mathews threw his head back in disappointment as he trudged off, even as the Bangladesh fielders rushed to congratulate him for his big endeavour.

Despite failing to get to what would have been his second Test double-century, Mathews’ was a massive effort. His 199 was one more than what the rest of the batters - including extras - combined to score. However, more than just the runs, he kept Sri Lanka’s fight going on for over nine hours in sizzling heat. He managed to get them out of tricky periods on the first day, and then battled through a batting collapse on the second morning when they lost four wickets for nine runs in 3.3 overs.

Mathews, however, had a lucky escape early on the second morning when he edged Khaled Ahmed in the fourth over. But neither the bowler nor the wicketkeeper or any of the close-in fielders seemed to have noticed the noise, which was later picked up by the broadcasters. He was on 119 at the time.

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