Bangladesh have carved out a thrilling four-wicket win over Sri Lanka riding on a brilliant all round performance from Shakib Al Hasan to seal a memorable 100th Test.
Chasing 191 to win, Tamim Iqbal struck a fine 82 before skipper Mushfiqur Rahim (22 not out) carried Bangladesh over the finishing line on a dramatic final day at the P Sara Oval on Sunday.
It sealed the Tigers’ first win over the Lankan lions in the format as they squared the two-match series 1-1. The fact that it comes on their century of Tests added to the weight of the triumph.
Bangladesh became the fourth team to win their 100th Test matches after Australia, the West Indies and Pakistan. It was Bangladesh’s ninth Test win overall and fourth overseas, first since 2013.
The P Sara Oval ground marks strings of success for the islanders who tasted their first victories against India and Pakistan there. Bangladesh’s getting their first win over the hosts there undoubtedly symbolises their progress in the illustrious format.
But the win was a hard-fought one. On Sunday, the momentum swung like a pendulum through the three sessions before Bangladesh came out on top.
With the track producing sharp turn and bounce, Sri Lanka skipper and birthday boy Rangana Herath landed a double blow by removing Soumya Sarkar (10) and Imrul Kayes (0) early on in their chase.
Bangladesh were reduced to 22 for 2 before lunch, but Tamim and Sabbir Rahman (41) then showed great resilience and temperament to put Bangladesh back on course with a 109-run partnership.
Sri Lanka’s chinaman Lakshan Sandakan bled too many runs and Herath stuck with Dilruwan Perera who soon repaid his faith by taking out Tamim and Sabbir before tea. But Bangladesh had chopped the target down under 50 by then.
Bangladesh looked to the experience of the Shakib-Mushfiqur pair, particularly after the allrounder’s century in a 100-plus partnership between them in the first innings.
But Perera once again struck after tea break to remove Shakib who played on to leave his team five wickets down, still 29 away from the coast.
Whatever fear of defeat had loomed at that point disappeared when Mushfiqur took charge. He overturned an on-field lbw decision, paired in a decisive 27-run partnership with young Mosaddek Hossain (13) before Mehedi Hasan Miraz (2) swept one away for the winning runs.
In the morning, Bangladesh bowled Sri Lanka out for 319 and were set a 191-run chase.
Tail-enders Dilruwan (50) and Suranga Lakmal (42) continued to frustrate the Tigers’ bowlers with an 80-run stand for the ninth wicket in the morning after they resumed on an overnight 268 for 8.
Perera was eventually run out after his fourth Test half-century. Lakmal soon followed him back when he holed out at long-off to give Shakib Al Hasan his fourth wicket.
Shakib returned 4 for 74 while Mustafizur picked up 3 for 78 for Bangladesh. Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Taijul Islam chipped in with a wicket apiece.
Tamim was adjudged Man-of-the-Match while Shakib was awarded the Man-of-the-Series prize.