Published: January 30, 2014
The way in which the magnificent Mahela Jayawardene, along with his young partner Kithuruwan Vithanage, continued Sri Lanka’s domination over the mundane Tigers was a clear lesson in Test cricket. But unfortunately Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal ignored this valuable lesson when his reckless shot late in the day exacerbated the home side’s pain after the visitors put them under a pile of runs on the third day of the first Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
The tone was set for the Tigers’ sufferings by their ordinary batting display in the first innings, and the situation only worsened through the dropped chances on the second day. And when Sri Lanka posted a 498-run first innings lead after piling on a whopping 730 for six, riding on Jayawardene’s masterful double-hundred and Vithanage’s maiden hundred, one need not be an expert to predict the outcome of the match.
So there was only one thing to do for Mushfiqur Rahim’s men — to show their Test-match ability, but the left-handed Tamim heightened the frustration for the fans by playing a shot, for which the word ‘reckless’ would be too soft.
He came to bat in the second innings on the back of a poor dismissal in the first essay; so it was believed that the newly appointed vice-captain would bat responsibly in the second attempt. Tamim was beaten by pacer Lakmal in his very first ball from where the experienced batter. Instead of putting his head down he hit two boundaries off admittedly poor deliveries, which made Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews call upon his main strike weapon, left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, as early as the fourth over. Inexplicably, Tamim jumped out to the third ball and played a hoick intended for the gallery behind mid-wicket, but the leading edge only spooned the ball to point, where Dilruwan Perera took a well-judged catch.
The irresponsible dismissal provided the perfect finish for Sri Lanka. Only if the remaining batsmen can take a leaf out of Sri Lanka’s book they can conceivably escape the match with some dignity. That however seems a big ask for a team physically and mentally fatigued after two days of chasing leather.
It is always a pleasure for any ardent cricket fan to watch the silent killer Jayawardene and yesterday was no exception. He pulled Robiul Islam to fine leg to bring up his hundred. His double-hundred was studded with the trademark late cut and paddle sweep against the spinners. He barely gave the bowlers a chance, except a close leg-before shout from Shohag Gazi when he was on 119.
Sri Lanka stretched the lead to 370 runs by Tea but only declared their innings when one of their finest batsman reached his seventh double hundred.
Neither the pacers nor the spinners were effective and Shohag Gazi’s wicket of Mathews for 86 was the Tigers’ sole success for the day. Mathews was also a recipient of Bangladesh’s hospitality when he was dropped by the sloppy Mushfiqur on 68 off part-timer Marshall Ayub.