Once bitten Sri Lanka, twice shy.
March 10, 2017. Courtesy: Daily News.
Upul Tharanga (R) is watched by Bangladesh wicketkeeper Liton Das as he plays a shot during the fourth day of the opening Test match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on March 10, 2017.LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP
reporting from Galle
Given what Pakistan did to them two years ago at Pallekele, the Sri Lankans seem to be taking nothing for granted. When Angelo Mathews set Pakistan a record 382 to win the final Test and the series in 2015, he may have thought that he had all grounds covered. But to his disbelief, the tourists chased down the mammoth target, without a fuss, losing only two wickets. As Rangana Herath delayed the declaration yesterday, in the first Test against Bangladesh here in Galle, you were reminded of the famous idiom, once bitten, twice shy.
With the lead already 429 at tea, Sri Lanka were expected to declare, but they batted for five more overs after the break and added 27 runs before eventually calling it off following the dismissal of Dilruwan Perera.
Set an improbable target of 457 in 125 overs, Bangladesh reached 67 for no loss before bad light ended play early with still 11 overs remaining. The tourists need a further 390 runs in 98 overs.
The mainstay of Sri Lanka’s innings was opener Upul Thranga, who posed his third Test hundred and the first at home. It was the left-hander’s 14th game on home soil.
Tharanga was involved in three 50 plus stands. He added 69 runs with Dimuth Karunaratne (32) for the first wicket. The last time the openers added 50 runs was in Port Elizabeth in the Boxing Day Test last year. Since then there have been five innings where Sri Lanka’s openers had fallen cheaply.
It was Tharanga’s second hundred against Bangladesh. He played himself in taking 109 deliveries for his half-century, but from 50 to 100 he required only 55 deliveries.
He went onto post 115 off 171 deliveries with 11 fours and two sixes.
Vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal posted his first half-century in eight innings after being dropped on 11 by Soumya Sarkar at first slip.
If Bangladesh were to chase the mammoth target, they will have to create a World Record. West Indies’ 418 against Australia in Antigua in 2003 is the highest successful run chase in the history. No team has made more than Pakistan’s 382 in 2015 at Pallekele to win a Test here while the highest successful run chase in Galle is 99.
Sri Lanka will need early wickets today, but with predictions for rain and the wicket playing well, the game could be heading for a draw.