The two ends of the day were delicate and disastrous. Dinesh Chandimal took Sri Lanka out of a slippery slope, from an overnight 238 for 7 to a more comfortable footing of 338. Then, Bangladesh did what they have so regularly, giving away a good start and looking like a team hell-bent on self-destruction.
Chandimal gave Sri Lanka the cushion with his proficiency, ensuring that they moved quickly on the second morning. Along with Herath, the duo batted for 30-odd minutes before Shakib Al Hasan had the Sri Lanka captain edging to slip for 25. Then, Suranga Lakmal continued the lower order’s good work with 35, most of which came during his 33-run last-wicket stand with Lakshan Sandakan.
But it was during the Chandimal-Lakmal ninth-wicket stand that Sri Lanka truly regained control. The duo added 55 runs in quick time, thanks mainly to Chandimal, who opened up with big hits down the ground after notching up his eighth Test century. He finished with ten fours and a six over square-leg off Mustafizur Rahman. Mehedi Hasan picked up three wickets, while Soumya Sarkar took four catches – a record for a Bangladesh fielder in a Test innings.
Sri Lanka could have jolted Bangladesh early in their reply had Rangana Herath not been shy in asking for a review in the third over. Tamim played Lakmal across the line and was struck in front; replays later confirmed that the umpire’s not out call would have been overturned.
Tamim, on 2 then, survived on 23 when Sri Lanka again decided against using the review. This time, it was Dilruwan Perera who pinged him in front. That hardly deterred Tamim, however, and along with Soumya Sarkar, who stroked the ball nicely, put together a third successive 50-plus stand for the first wicket.
When Tamim fell, at the stroke of tea, it was once again after being struck in front as he missed a slider from Herath. This time, the review worked, and Tamim walked back one short of fifty, having played 91 balls.