2nd Test, Day 2: Sri Lankan openers put game in balance after Mushfiqur’s 175*

Sri Lanka openers Dimuth Karunaratne (70 not out) and Oshada Fernando (57) struck half-centuries to help Sri Lanka end the second day on 143 for 2 in the second Test against Bangladesh, here on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka are still trailing by 222 runs with Karunaratne and nightwatchman Kasun Rajitha (0) unbeaten at stumps on Day 2.

After finishing their first innings at 365 courtesy Mushfiqur Rahim’s unbeaten 175, Bangladesh struggled to pick wickets early on as Sri Lankan openers put up a 94-runs opening stand. However, Ebadot Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan scalped the wickets of Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis respectively, helping Bangladesh put up a fightback late in the final session.

Earlier in the opening session of Day 2, Sri Lankan pacers kept the set batters Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim under check. They bowled at the right lengths and soon got their reward when they broke Das and Rahim’s epic sixth-wicket partnership.

Kasun Rajitha removed Liton Das on 141, who could only add six runs to his overnight score. The right-hander succumbed to an offside-off delivery off Rajitha, edging it straight to the hands of the slip fielder. The pacer secured his maiden five-for later in the same over by dismissing Mossadek Hossain for a duck.

After two quick wickets, Mushfiqur Rahim steadied the ship with a crucial 49-run partnership with Taijul Islam. Mushfiqur shifted gears and started attacking the spinners en route to his 150.

Asitha Fernando then struck twice in quick succession, removing Taijul Islam on 15 and Khaled Ahmed on a duck. Fernando got a nick off Taijul’s gloves with a well-directed bouncer which went straight to the wicketkeeper’s hand. Khaled Ahmed was similarly caught off guard by Fernando’s short delivery, which deflected off his gloves and into the hands of Niroshan Dickwella yet again.

With Sri Lanka just a wicket away from bowling out Bangladesh, the umpires decided to extend the session by half an hour. Mushfiqur in the last half hour avoided singles and kept strike to himself as Bangladesh went for lunch at 361/9.

The final wicket came immediately after the lunch break as Mushfiiqur in an attempt to keep the strike, attempted a double, but Ebadot Hossain (0) was run-out at the non-striker’s end, thanks to a brilliant throw by Karunaratne from long-on. Hossain’s wicket brought the hosts’ innings to a close at 365 with Rahim stranded at 175 not out.

In reply, Sri Lankan openers got off to a good start in their first innings, scoring 84 runs in the afternoon session without losing a wicket.

Oshada Fernando, who was unlucky to get run out in the first Test, remained unbeaten on 52 in the afternoon session. Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, at the other end, took his time to get going and remained unbeaten at 31 as the openers took Sri Lanka to tea unscathed at 84/0.

In the early part of the third session, Sri Lanka lost Fernando to Ebadot Hossain, who provided the much-needed breakthrough for Bangladesh. Fernando tried to slash an outside off delivery but it went straight into the hands of the first slip, an ICC report said.

Karunaratne remained patient and went on to complete his 29th Test half-century. Kusal Mendis though, after batting through the majority of the session, lost his wicket with Shakib trapping him in front of the wickets. Karunaratne then batted through the remaining session with nightwatchman Kasun Rajitha (0*) keeping him company as Sri Lanka finished the day at 143/2.

Brief scores: Bangladesh 365 (Mushfiqur Rahim 175 not out, Liton Das 141; Kasun Rajitha 5-64) lead Sri Lanka 143/2 (Dimuth Karunaratne 70 not out) by 222 runs.

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