Karunaratne labours as SL stutter in bid for big lead

Sri Lanka 87 for 3 (Karunaratne 29*, Chandimal 4*) and 222 lead Bangladesh 110 (Mehidy 38*, Dananjaya 3-20, Lakmal 3-25) by 199 runs

Liton Das is bowled by Suranga Lakmal © Associated Press

A sparkling 24-ball 28 from Dhananjaya de Silva and a slow-burn 29 not out from Dimuth Karunaratne entrenched Sri Lanka’s advantage in the second session. The visitors lost three wickets after lunch, but having claimed a 112-run lead in the morning, they are now 199 runs ahead in the match. A further 70 runs, and Bangladesh may begin to feel a chase in the fourth innings may be beyond them.

Kusal Mendis was given lbw off Abdur Razzak in the fifth over of the session, but where Mendis was not available to play an aggressive innings, de Silva provided one. He batted himself in briefly, scoring only one off his first seven deliveries, before suddenly breaking loose against Taijul Islam. The first of de Silva’s three fours in the tenth over was a disdainful cut in front of square to a short ball. The second was drilled past point as the bowler pitched too full – overcompensating. The third was a strapping lofted cover drive, and having hit Taijul out of the attack, he soon began to score freely off the other spinners. At one point, he ran down the crease at Abdur Razzak, saw that the bowler had pitched it too wide for him to play the stroke he originally intended, but adjusted mid-movement to play a late cut instead, collecting two runs. His ambition did eventually get him out, however. Attempting to run a turning ball from Taijul off the face of the bat, he missed the ball and it clattered into off stump.

Karunaratne banked instead on defence. With Mehidy Hasan, Razzak and Taijul all largely turning the ball into him. he did not have his outside edge beaten as often as the other batsmen. He often played for the straighter one, but was quick enough to adjust if the ball turned with unexpected venom. He has spent 94 balls at the crease without having hit a boundary, and in fact, having never really ventured one. All but seven of his runs have come on the legside.

After de Silva and Karunaratne had put on 34 runs together, Danushka Gunathilaka also contributed 17, before a cutter from Mustafizur Rahman pinned him in front of the stumps. Although they delivered their share of outstanding deliveries, Bangladesh’s bowlers will be disappointed at delivery too many short balls, which the batsmen rarely passed up the chance to score from.

In the morning session, debutant Akila Dananjaya had ransacked Bangladesh’s lower middle order, taking three wickets in the space of seven deliveries, as the hosts lost their last five wickets for five runs. Only Mehidy Hasan provided a significant resistance with the bat, making 38 not out after having coming in as nightwatchman. The next-best Bangladesh score was 25. They were all out for 110.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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