Karunaratne half-century helps Sri Lanka extend lead over Bangladesh to 211

SYLHET, Bangladesh (AP) — Opener Dimuth Karunaratne's half-century helped Sri Lanka tighten its grip on the series opening test against Bangladesh on Saturday.

In reply to Sri Lanka's 280 all out, Bangladesh was bowled out for 188 with pacer Vishwa Fernando taking 4-48.

Sri Lanka then padded its 92-run advantage on the first innings by reaching 119-5 at stumps on Day 2 and extending its lead to 211 runs.

The Sri Lankans, who have never lost a test in Bangladesh, were beginning to feel confident of another good result.

“The way the pitch is behaving at the moment sees some variable bounce. It's not easy to score runs,” Sri Lanka pace bowling coach Dharshana Gamage said. “If we can stretch the lead to 300 or more, it'll be very advantageous to us.”

Naturally, Bangladesh wants to limit the damage as much as possible on Sunday.

“We got wickets in the end, but we were unlucky not to pick up more wickets,” Bangladesh batting coach David Hemp said. “They are leading by 211 runs. If we can get early wickets tomorrow morning, we could be looking at a 250 chase.”

Karunaratne held the second innings together while wickets fell around him.

Bangladesh pacer Nahid Rana, who had first innings figures of 3-87, dealt a double strike to leave Sri Lanka at 32-2.

Rana, who finished with 2-42, had opener Nishan Madushka caught behind Das for 10 with a delivery that moved sharply to take the outside edge.

He then took the big wicket of Kusal Mendis on 3 with a bouncer.

Spinners Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan put Sri Lanka in further trouble by dismissing Angelo Mathews (22) and Dinesh Chandimal (0) in consecutive overs.

But Karunaratne held firm with 52 off 101 balls to ensure Sri Lanka's lead passed 200.

Karunaratne and captain Dhananjaya de Silva, who hit a century in the first innings, had a 49-run partnership for the fifth wicket until pacer Shoriful Islam employed a short ball trick to get the better of Karunaratne, who hit seven fours and one six.

De Silva was on 23 with nightwatchman Vishwa Fernando on 2 at stumps.

Fernando earlier wrecked Bangladesh with brilliant pace bowling to help Sri Lanka earn a healthy lead. Fast bowler Lahiru Kumara (3-31) and Kasun Rajitha (3-56) played their part well to weaken Bangladesh further.

"We are disappointed not to have batted for more than 51 overs,” Hemp said. “It is a little bit frustrating but it is what it is.”

Taijul Islam, the nightwatchman on Day 1, top-scored for the side with 47 and Liton Das made 25.

Resuming the day at 32-3, Taijul started with a four through point off Rajitha but Sri Lanka needed very little time to strike.

Kumara dismissed Mahmudul Hasan for 12 with a fuller, swinging delivery that took the outside edge. Kumara’s probing line and length bagged Shahadat Hossain with extra bounce. He also bowled Das with a full delivery after tormenting him repeatedly. Das, who scored 25 off 43 with four boundaries, added 41 runs with Taijul.

Fernando, who took two wickets on Day 1, cleaned up the tail.


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