Bangladesh lost five wickets for just three runs, which was nothing but embarrassing. Bangladesh would love to forget this collapse and come back strongly.
Contradicting the first Test in Chittagong, the second Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh has turned out to be an interesting contest. While the track in Chittagong did not offer the bowlers anything, they played a huge role so far in the second Test. The turning track as expected in Dhaka provided plenty to spinners and which is why on the opening day, Bangladesh managed to restrict the Sri Lankans to 222, courtesy of four wickets each from the spin duo of Abdur Razzak and Taijul Islam. Although they ran through Sri Lanka’s batting line-up, half-centuries from Kusal Mendis and Roshen Silva took Sri Lanka to a total of 222 runs.
The total seemed good enough for Sri Lanka’s bowlers because the spin-friendly pitch would bring their senior-most player, Rangana Herath, into the big picture. However, it was Suranga Lakmal followed by Dilruwan Perera who made breakthroughs before the stumps of the opening day. Although Herath managed to slow down Bangladesh’s run-flow, he was under pressure of not being able to make any breakthroughs. He got a few thick edges but none of those flew properly to the fielders. While it was the perfect opportunity for the hosts to dominate Herath, they chose to collapse against a debutant.
With his mystery bowling, Akila Dananjaya against India last year showed what he was capable of. In the first encounter between India and the 24-year-old spinner, the latter ended up picking six wickets against a full-fledged Indian ODI side. His quality of getting the ball to flight and dip has been his massive weapon that also made tons of difference on the second day of the Dhaka Test in the favour of the touring party.
Moreover, since Bangladesh was going to lock horns with a subcontinent team, it was surprising that they had prepared a heavily turning track for the second Test. Sri Lankans’ struggle of late, across formats and conditions, was not hidden anymore. In their recent series against India, at home and away, the Indian spinners were no less than beasts for the Lankans, who topped the wicket charts. Hence, Bangladesh would have aimed at capitalising on their spin department’s strength and derail the visitors. However, it ended up as a backfire. It was the Sri Lankans, in fact, who coped up with the tricky conditions at Mirpur, and not the hosts.
A forgettable collapse for Bangladesh
While the Bangladesh spinners troubled them, a player always stepped up during a crisis in the innings and those partnerships eventually put Sri Lanka in an advantageous position. That was something, the hosts, being more aware of the conditions, failed to do so. In the first few hours of the second day, before the first drinks break, Bangladesh were put into severe testing in the 15-over period; they managed only a total of two boundaries and that triggered immense pressure on them.
Post the break, Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah ended the boundary draught by scoring a couple of fours but at the same time, those were risky shots which the Lankans would not have minded. The situation showed, he was under pressure and a mistake from him was just around the corner. Meanwhile, the Test debutant Dananjaya had begun to get the ball to flight and dip and that clearly troubled the batsmen. Soon, he would impose a mighty collapse on the hosts.
Mahmudullah was beaten comprehensively by a delivery from Dananjaya as he left enough gap between his bat and pad which was enough to trap him LBW and earn Dananjaya his maiden Test wicket. Two deliveries later, Sabbir Rahman became his second victim in Test cricket. Dananjaya got the ball to dip late and Rahman was not ready for that. In reply, Rahman looked to press it forward tamely only to get a thick edge that went straight into the hands of Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal at short mid-wicket.
The dip that Dananjaya got was the major reason behind the misery Bangladesh suffered towards the end of their innings. In his next over, Dananjaya dismissed Abdur Razzakfollowing which Taijul and Mustafizur Rahman fell off successive deliveries as Bangladesh were bowled out for 110. The final five wickets fell for just three runs and that summed up their poor innings that eventually ended as Bangladesh’s lowest ever total against Sri Lanka at home in Tests.
The Sri Lankans came into their second innings with a lead of 112 runs. By the time the stumps of second day arrived, the tourists had earned an excellent lead of 312 runs. In order to remain in the match, Bangladesh will have to bowl out Sri Lanka early on the third day. Nevertheless, if at all Sri Lanka eventually won the match, Dananjaya’s 3 for 20 will be considered as one of the significant turnarounds in the match.