Finally, Bangladesh cricket especially the test one got something to cheer about. The batsmen proved that they have developed the mental strength and perseverance to stay at the crease for a long time. Muhammad Ashraful and Mushfiq Rahim made a 261 run partnership making it the highest one for their side in Tests to prevent a follow on and take the team close to the first innings total of 570.
The day started with Ashraful and test debutant Mominul Haque on the crease at 65 and 35 respectively. The team’s total at the time was 135 for the loss of 2 wickets. Both the players added valuable runs to take the total to 170 runs, with a partnership of 105 runs. Mominul in the process scored his maiden test fifty. He was out by Kulasakera on 55. Soon after, the new batsmen Mahmudullah was stumped out for naught when the total was 177 runs. That was the last wicket the Sri Lankans were able to take. Asraful was joined on the crease by Mushfiqur Rahim. At that time, few could have thought that Bangladesh would be able to come out of the crisis. But both the batsmen played with responsibility and patience to steer the team to avoid the follow on and get beyond 400 run mark. In this process, Ashraful scored his highest test score as well as the highest by any Bangladeshi batsman, beating the previous best of 158 run also scored by him. It was his first century in four years
Ashraful also became the longest innings playing Bangladeshi batsman in terms of balls faced. He faced 381 balls. His presence at the crease helped Mushfiq score with ease and confidence. Mushfiqur Rahim’s also scored century and went on to make third highest score by Bangladeshi batsman, the highest by the team’s skipper so far. He is at the crease on 152 and is expected to get past the highest score by a wicketkeeper against the hosts. The record is presently held by Kamran Akmal who scored 158 runs against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan bowlers tried everything to break the partnership but could not succeed. The partnership is in tact at 261 runs. Bangladesh still needs 132 runs to reduce the deficit. The score board so far is as follows:
Bangladesh 438 for 4 (Ashraful 189*, Mushfiqur 152*) trail Sri Lanka 570 for 4 dec (Sangakkara 142, Thirimanne 155*, Chandimal 116*) by 132 runs