Mushfiqur and Bangladesh make history
Captain Mushfiqur Rahim became the first Bangladesh batsman to record a double century as they amassed their highest-ever total on the fourth day of their first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
The landmark of becoming the first man to reach 200 looked set to be reached by Mohammad Ashraful, who returned in the morning just 11 shy, yet he perished after adding just one more to fall for 190.
Mushfiqur succeeded where his team-mate could not, however, scoring exactly 200 while Nasir Hossain weighed in with a century of his own before the tourists were eventually dismissed for 638.
That was enough for a first-innings lead of 68, yet Sri Lanka moved back in front by reaching stumps on 116 for one as Tillakaratne Dilshan’s second half-century of the match gave them a 48-run advantage with a draw now looking inevitable.
Perhaps fully aware of how close he was to an historic innings, Ashraful hung around for just five overs in the morning before edging Rangana Herath to Angelo Mathews at slip.
That ended a mammoth fifth-wicket partnership of 267 between Ashraful and Mushfiqur and the latter pieced together another huge stand with new man Nasir.
Neither batsman was troubled by a pitch which was offering little for the hosts’ bowling contingent.
Nasir stormed to his half-century in just 61 deliveries while, at the other end, Mushfiqur crept towards 200.
He was on 198 when the players took lunch and returned with renewed purpose from the interval as he claimed two singles in quick succession.
However, just three balls later, he was heading back when Nuwan Kulasekara had him trapped in front to end a memorable knock and an alliance of 106 with Nasir.
Sohag Gazi’s brisk 21 was ended by Ajantha Mendis but Nasir continued undeterred, reaching a century from 147 balls before clipping Dilshan to midwicket, while Elias Sunny and Shahadat Hossain became the last two wickets to fall.
Sri Lanka’s innings started badly when Dimuth Karunaratne failed to make use of the favourable conditions as he departed for just three when he hooked Shahadat to Abul Hasan.
Yet Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara, who was a centurion in the first innings, steadied the ship with an unbeaten 63 and 49 not out respectively.