31 December 2008
Bangladesh fought hard on the fifth day but fell 107 run short of the mammoth 521 run winning target at the Sher E Bangla Stadium in Mirpur today. Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful scored ton while Shakib Al Hasan struck a fighting 96 to raise Bangladesh's hope of an improbable win, but their departure left the tail with too much to do and Sri Lanka finally managed to bowl the Tigers out for 413 runs. With this win Sri Lanka took 1-0 lead in the two match Grameen Phone Test series.
Bangladesh started the day on 254/5 and needed a further 267 runs to clinch the historic victory which would have been the most successful run chase in the history of Test cricket. At the end Bangladesh managed to score their highest 4th innings score with a gutsy performance, but the target 521 runs was too much to ask from the Tigers who had already lost their five frontline batsmen on the 4th day.
Mohammad Ashraful ended his barren run with a fine 101 against his favourite opposition, but departed soon after reaching the landmark when tried to play across the line and trapped in front by a fuller Chaminda Vaas delivery. This is Ashraful's 5th Test century and 4 of them have come against Sri Lanka. Ashraful shared a 112 run 6th wicket partnership with Shakib Al Hasan who was playing a more sensible innings than his skipper.
Ashraful's dismissal brought wicket keeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim in the middle and he along with Shakib Al Hasan started to dominate Sri Lanka bowling with utmost ease. They shared a 111 run 7th wicket partnership and it looked that Bangladesh might pull off the most unlikely victory in Test history. Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene rotated his bowlers but the pair managed to keep them at the bay and even Muralitharan failed create any impact on their mindset.
The pair took Bangladesh within 120 runs of the victory target, but lost Shakib Al Hasan in a most unfortunate way falling 4 runs short of a well deserved century. Shakib dragged a Dhammika Prasad delivery on his stamps while trying to play a cut shot away from his body. Shakib's dismissal triggered a late order collapse and Bangladesh lost their last 3 wickets for 10 runs. Mushfiqur Rahim scored a fine 61 before becoming the 4th scalp of Muttiah Muralitharan which raised his match tally to 10 wickets for 190 runs. Shakib Al Hasan was adjudged man of the match for his 6 wickets and the fighting 96 runs which kept Bangladesh's hope alive for a long time.
The second Test will start on 3rd January at Chittagong Divisional Stadium in Chittagong.