The spin twins pick five wickets between them as hosts eye series win on final day
Stumps Bangladesh 251 and 177 for 5 (Mushfiqur 40, Mendis 3-86, Jayawickrama 2-58) trail Sri Lanka 493 for 7 dec and 194 for 9 dec (Karunaratne 66, de Silva 41, Taijul 5-72) by 260 runs
Bad light cut short Sri Lanka’s charge to a series win on the fourth evening of the second Test in Pallekele. Bangladesh were tottering at 177 for 5 when play was called off an hour before the scheduled close.
Despite losing three wickets before tea, Bangladesh continued to bat aggressively in the final session, perhaps mindful of the pitch continuing to offer sharp turn and bounce to the spinners.
Ramesh Mendis, the offspinner, took three wickets while Praveen Jayawickrama, the debutant left-arm spinner, picked two to take his match tally to eight wickets. He is now the third Sri Lankan after Akila Dhananjaya and Ajantha Mendis to take so many wickets on Test debut, eight wickets on Test debut.
Jayawickrama struck to remove Saif Hassan and Najmul Hossain Shanto before tea. Hassan struck five fours and a six in his 34, before holing out to cover point off an ungainly shot. Shanto, who made 163 followed by two ducks, survived an early lbw appeal, but had his forward press breached when Jayawickrama got the ball to spin through his defence on 26.
Five overs into the final session, Bangladesh lost their captain, Mominul Haque, when he inside edged an innocuous Mendis delivery onto his stumps on 32. Mushfiqur Rahim hung around to make 40, but his was a chancy knock.
First, Lahiru Thirimanne dropped him on 6. Then, Niroshan Dickwella missed a stumping chance when a Mendis delivery slipped through his legs as Mushfiqur, bizarrely, left the ball through his legs after stepping out. But his end came soon, when Mendis got one to jump on him, taking his glove to be an easy catch for Dhananjaya de Silva at short leg.
Bangladesh’s 437-run target was set up by Sri Lanka, who declared on 194 for 9 shortly after lunch. They added 177 runs 35.2 overs, with Dimuth Karunaratne’s 66 being the top score. It took his series tally to 428 runs, which made him the second Sri Lankan to score 400-plus runs in a Test series against Bangladesh.
Karunaratne added 73 for the fourth wicket with Dhananjaya de Silva, who chipped in with 41. Sri Lanka lost most of their wickets on the fourth day trying to bat aggressively, helping Taijul Islam to a five-wicket haul, his second on foreign soil. But that may prove to only be academic with the hosts having every chance to wrap up the game on the final day.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84