It was cricket at its one-sided worst. Sri Lanka arrogantly decided
to bowl first on a shirtfront of a pitch and swept through a
paper-thin Bangladesh line-up in double quick time before their
batsmen went on a greedy run spree at the Sinhalese Sports Club on
Sponsors, broadcasters and spectators (who had at least been
enticed with free entrance) had expected as much and stayed well away
from an Asian Test Championship match that was always going to attract
little interest so soon after Sri Lanka's 2-1 Test series win against
For the sadistically minded cricket fan there were moments to
cherish, including yet another five-wicket haul by Muttiah
Muralitharan, blistering 89 off 56 balls from Sanath Jayasuriya and an
elegant 99 not out from Marvan Atapattu but, all-in-all, there would
have been greater tension at an impromptu softball game on Galle Face
Sri Lanka bowled out Bangladesh for just 90 runs in 36.4 overs,
which was the tourist's lowest total in their short five-Test baptism
and the lowest ever score made against Sri Lanka in their 112-Test
career, before there batsmen piled up 246 for one in just over three
hours of batting, to give them a daunting 156 run lead at the close.
Atapattu had set the tone for the innings with three exquisite
cover drives for four in the first over of the innings, but it was
Jayasuriya who stole the limelight, as he came close to clobbering one
of the all time fastest Test centuries.
He reached his fifty off just 35 balls with a pull for six, as
second fifty of the innings came up in just 22 balls and took Sri
Lanka into tea on 115 without loss after just 15 overs.
After the interval in continued in the same disdainful vein before
he was trapped leg-before wicket by off spinner Naimur Rahman for 89
off 56 balls, having hit eleven fours and four sixes, two of which
were carved over cover.
Bangladesh fought-back bravely in the final two hours of the day
and could have picked up further wickets if they had not spilled two
chances at first slip off Atapattu.
Nevertheless, Atapattu and Kumar Sangakkara, who retained the
number three position despite the inclusion of Michael Vandort earlier
in the day, added 102 runs for the second wicket.
Atapattu finished the day on 99, agonisingly short of his eighth
Test century and Sangakkara was left on 49 not out. The only ones
having sleepless nights, however, will be the middle order batsmen
waiting in the dressing, who may be concerned that they are going to
miss out on a chance to boost their Test averages tomorrow.
Bangladesh had started the day in disastrous fashion when they lost
three early wickets to the new ball: Javed Omar (7) played inside a
straight delivery and edged a simple catch to first slip, Habibul
Bashir (4) was cleaned bowled by an inswinger in Vaas's next over and
Aminul Islam (6) was caught behind off Ruchira Perera's first ball of
Opener Mehrab Hossain and middle order batsman Al Shahriar then
staged a mini fight back, adding 28 runs for the fourth wicket, before
the tourists lost four wickets for four runs after the introduction of
Muralitharan in the 19th over of the innings.
Al Shahriar (16) edged Muralitharan's cleverly-disguised arm ball,
opener Mehrab's (23) patient resistance ended when he was run out and
both Naimur Rahman and Khaled Mashud were bowled for ducks in the last
over before lunch.
After the interval teenage debutante Mohammad Ashraful held up the
home team with an entertaining 26, which included three boundaries in
one over from Chaminda Vaas, who cruelly greeted the new boy with a
succession of short balls.
Nevertheless, Bangladesh's resistance did not last long and 41
minutes after lunch the bowlers had their feet up in the balcony,
facing the pleasant prospect of two days rest before they are next
In the morning Sri Lanka announced three changes to the side that
defeated India on Sunday: Russel Arnold made way for debutante Michael
Vandort after 27 consecutive Tests and fast bowlers Ruchira Perera and
Ravindra Pushpakumara replaced Dulip Liyanage and the injured Dilhara
Bangladesh made two changes to the side that lost by an innings and
264 runs to Pakistan in the first game of the championship at Multan
last week: Ashraful, just 16 years old, came in place of left-arm
spinner Enamul Haque and middle order batsman Al Shahriar, 23,
replaced the experienced Akram Khan.