Sangakkara ton puts Sri Lanka on top

Kumar Sangakkara’s unbeaten 160 helped Sri Lanka recover from a shaky start and post 314 for 5 on the opening day of the second Test against Bangladesh at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdury Stadium in Chittagong.

This was Sangakkara’s 34th Test century, equalling the tally of Sunil Gavaskar and Brian Lara. Sangakkara, who is playing in his 122nd Test, now has the most number of Test hundreds among active players, and on the all-time list, only Sachin Tendulkar (51), Jacques Kallis (45), Ricky Ponting (41) and Rahul Dravid (36) are ahead of him.

Sangakkara resurrected Sri Lanka’s innings with Mahela Jayawardene after it had been reduced to 49 for 2, with both openers dismissed. Both Sangakkara and Jayawardene came into this Test in good touch. While the former had scored 75 in the first Test, the latter had hit an unbeaten 203 in Sri Lanka’s innings and 248 run win at Dhaka.

The duo added 178 runs for the third wicket after the Bangladesh bowlers had struck twice just after the first drinks break. Jayawardene contributed 72 off 147 balls before being trapped in front by Mohammad Mahmudullah’s offspin to leave Sri Lanka 227 for 3. Following Jayawardene’s departure, Dinesh Chandimal added 67 runs with Sangakkara.

Bangladesh pulled things back somewhat with Shakib Al Hasan striking twice to remove Chandimal and Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lankan captain, in quick succession, but Sri Lanka was well placed despite losing the two wickets at the close.

Earlier, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva, the openers, made a sluggish start, with only eight runs scored in the first eight overs after Mathews elected to bat first on a slow pitch. Bangladesh broke through when 30 runs had been added in 15 overs, with Sohag Gazi, the off-spinner trapping Silva in front for 11. Karunaratne departed soon after, slashing at a wide delivery from Al-Amin Hossain when on 31 to be caught at point. With both openers back in the hut, the morning session ended on an even keel, with Sri Lanka 71 for 2.

After the break, Sangakkara took charge, lofting Mahmudullah over midwicket for a six to bring up his half-century, and hitting three boundaries off one Gazi over.

Sri Lanka had gone into this match with two changes from the side that won the first Test, both forced by injuries with Rangana Herath and Shaminda Eranga returning home and Ajantha Mendis and Nuwan Pradeep included. Bangladesh made three changes, bringing in Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah and Abdur Razzak in place of Marshall Ayb, Rubel Hossain and Robiul Islam.

(Courtesy:International Cricket Council)