4 January 2009
A valiant 63 from number 9 Mashrafe Mortaza helped Bangladesh to avoid follow-on on the second day of the second Test match in Chittagong today. His pace bowling partner Shahadat Hossain ably supported him with a 57 ball 5 as the pair lifted Bangladesh from hopeless 145 for 9 to 208 all out conceding a 176 run first innings deficit.
Mashrafe played Muralitharan and Mendis with utmost ease and struck eight boundaries and two sixes in his 89 ball innings. He finally fell to Muralitharan while attempting to hit successive sixes but found Dilshan at deep mid-wicket on the second attempt.
Bangladesh started their run chase poorly as veteran Chaminda Vaas removed both openers cheaply with a fine display of seam bowling. The much talked Ajantha Mendis then removed Raqibul for duck and Bangladesh were reduced to 33 for 3 in the 12th over of their innings.
Junaid Siddique and Mohammad Ashraful tried to restore the balance, but their promising 32 run partnership came to an abrupt end when Junaid failed to put bat on a low full toss from Dilhara Fernando and was clean bowled. Ashraful was finding his feet against the spinner and played some well timed drive to lead Bangladesh's fight back.
However, Bangladesh top order was again guilty of throwing away their starts as Mehrab Jr. was next to follow when he failed to cover the line of a straight delivery from Ajantha Mendis and was trapped in front. Mendis picked Shakib Al Hasan in the very next delivery and Bangladesh's hope of posting a good first innings total soon evaporated.
Young wicket keeper Mushfiqur Rahim survived the hattrick delivery from Mendis and started to build a partnership with his captain to rescue Bangladesh from the dire situation. The pair holds the record of highest 191 run partnership against the Lankans. However, momentary madness of Mohammad Ashraful which often causes his down fall struck again and he gifted his wicket to Muralitharan while attempting a reverse sweep which was the last thing imaginable on that situation.
Mushfiqur didn't last long and like his skipper needlessly threw his wicket away leaving Bangladesh 122 for 7. Mushfiq was outfoxed by Mendis when he gave him a charge down the wicket and wicketkeeper Prasanna completed the easiest of stumpings.
The rest of Bangladesh batting is the tale of Mashrafe Mortaza. No. 10 Enamul Jr. could support him well and fell cheaply on 136, but the last pair showed a remarkable resilience and fought hard to avoid the follow-on which looked highly improbable at 145 for 9.
Sri Lanka were 13 for no loss at stumps in the second innings and are in a strong position with an overall 189 run lead with 10 wickets remaining.
Earlier, Sri Lanka could only survive four overs in the morning and add only 13 runs to their overnight score as Shakib Al Hasan ran havoc through the late order. Shakib bagged three quick wickets including that of Chamara Kapugedera who fell 4 runs short of a well deserved century. Mashrafe grabbed the other wicket as Sri Lanka was dismissed for 384 runs from overnight 371 for 6. Shakib Al Hasan returned 4 for 109 while Mashrafe picked 3 wickets for 58 runs.