Bangladesh celebrated its 100th Test match with only its fourth overseas win and first against Sri Lanka as Tamim Iqbal’s 82 helped the side chase down 191 on the fifth and final day at P Sara Oval in Colombo on Sunday (March 19).
This was Bangladesh’s ninth Test win overall. Two of its previous wins in away Tests came against a West Indies side in 2009, while the other win came against Zimbabwe in Harare in 2013.
Bangladesh had taken a 129-run lead after the first-innings exchanges, and stopped Sri Lanka at 319 in its second innings to set up the achievable target.
Sri Lanka, defending just 35 runs in the final session and requiring six more wickets, kept the fight on. It removed Shakib Al Hasan, who made a fine 116 in the first innings, and Mosaddek Hossain, the other batting star of the first innings, but Bangladesh held its nerve to secure a four-wicket win with Mushfiqur Rahim unbeaten on 22 and Mehedi Hasan scoring the winning runs.
There were a few nervous moments for Bangladesh as it closed in on the memorable win. Rahim was adjudged lbw on 11 off Dilruwan when Bangladesh was 167 for 5, but the decision was overturned on review. Mosaddek then offered a tough return catch to Rangana Herath, the captain, but it was put down.
That didn’t deter Mosaddek as he continued to attack Herath, hitting a couple of boundaries off him, and taking Bangladesh within two runs of victory before falling to the left-arm spinner after scoring 13, to go with his 75 from the first dig in his debut Test.
Earlier, Tamim Iqbal and Sabbir Rahman (41) did most of the heavy-lifting in the chase after Herath struck twice in two balls to send back Soumya Sarkar and Imrul Kayes.
Though they were strong in defence, Tamim and Sabbir also put the bad balls away promptly, not allowing Sri Lanka’s spinners to dictate terms on a surface that was aiding them. With Bangladesh 60 runs shy of victory, Tamim went for a big hit, but skied it towards long-on. Dinesh Chandimal ran back to take a stunning catch to stop the third-wicket partnership at 109.
Dilruwan then struck, trapping Sabbir lbw, the batsman missing an attempted sweep to be struck in front. He was ruled out on review. But, by then, the batsmen had done enough, and Rahim, who came in next, maintained his composure to lead his team past the target to 191 for 6.
In its second innings, Sri Lanka was bowled out soon after an 80-run partnership between Dilruwan and Suranga Lakmal for the ninth wicket. Perera, resuming on 26 from 126 balls, started opening up and looked for scoring opportunities from the onset. He brought up his fourth Test half-century off the 165th ball he faced.
Meanwhile, Lakmal extended his score from 14 to 42. He had a bit of luck going his way. A thick outside edge flew wide of second slip to the boundary, a few wafts outside off marginally missed the outside edge and he mistimed a shot straight up in the air but it fell in a vacant spot at deep midwicket.
The runs might have been fortuitous but they were crucial nonetheless, and Lakmal gained more control of his shots as the innings progressed. The stand ended, ironically enough, due to a misfield, at short midwicket. The batsmen tried to sneak in a quick single, but Subhasis Roy fired in a quick throw to find Perera (50) short of his crease.
Lakmal then looked to clear the man at long-off but didn’t get the timing right, giving Shakib his fourth wicket. Shakib finished with figures of 4 for 74, while Mustafizur Rahman took 3 for 78.