Thirimanne and Karunaratne lead S.Lanka charge in Bangladesh Test on first day - GulfToday

Thirimanne and Karunaratne lead S.Lanka charge in Bangladesh Test on first day

Dimuth Karunaratne

Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne celebrates after scoring a century against Bangladesh during their first Test. Associated Press

Openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne posted hundreds and a double century stand as Sri Lanka reached 291-1 against Bangladesh on an ominous first day of the second test on Thursday.

Captain Karunaratne scored 118 for his 12th Test century, then Thirimanne hammered his third century and second this year. He was 131 not out at stumps in tandem with Oshada Fernando, 40 not out.

“It’s the first time I have scored back-to-back hundreds, and (I am) really pleased with that,” said Karunaratne, happy to win the toss. “Great to see Thirimanne getting a hundred, too. He’s been very good for us this year but he has not gone on to covert his 50s into hundreds. Good to see him getting there.” The Bangladesh bowlers had little chance against the in-form batsmen on another flat pitch, next to the block on which both sides scored more than 600 runs without being bowled out in the drawn first test which finished on Sunday.

“There was not much for the bowlers on day one, but ... the spinners were getting some turn towards the end of the day,” Karunarate said. “I think this wicket will deteriorate and we need to put up something like 600 runs and then put them under pressure.” Karunaratne was watchful in the first hour, settling in before cutting loose once the ball got older. On 28, he was dropped at first slip and that proved to be costly.

Fresh from his career-best 244 last week, the skipper played some elegant strokes forcing the bowlers to go in defensive mode. Against the spinners, there was clever use of the feet, rotating the strike, and putting the bad balls away.

For some reason, Bangladesh held back its most experienced bowler, Taijul Islam, until after lunch. The left-arm spinner was introduced only in the 38th over but by then both batsmen were well set. Together with offspinner Mehidy Hasan, Taijul shared the bulk of the bowling. The duo sent down 41 overs.

While the captain was free-flowing, Thirimanne was more sedate. In and out of the side since he made his test debut in Southampton 10 years ago, Thirimanne is having a brilliant 2021 after some technical adjustments to his game and cutting down some risky strokes. The discipline has paid rich dividends in the last two series and, at 131 not out, he’s on his second highest score.

The batsmen had to commit a mistake to get out, rather than be bowled, and Karunaratne threw away his wicket flashing at a delivery and attempting to send it square on the offside. The ball was too close to his body and he was caught behind on 209-1 after facing 190 deliveries and hitting 15 boundaries.

He became 19-year-old medium-pacer Shoriful Islam’s maiden test wicket.

In the last over before stumps, it looked as if Shoriful had a second as Thirimanne was given out leg before wicket. However, the decision was overturned after the batsman reviewed.

Fernando, after a disappointing first test, was looking good unbeaten on 40. He and Thirimanne have a partnership of 82 runs.

“It seems like Sri Lanka will get a big score,” Bangladesh batting coach Jon Lewis said. “We will spend at least another couple of sessions in the field, and it is something we have to deal with.

“The pitch still looks good at the moment. We have some batsmen with good form behind them after the first test.”


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