Bangladesh clawed back to the first Test strongly after off-spinner Nayeem Hasan set the platform, registering his career-best bowling on day two of the Test at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium here today.
Nayeem ended up with 6-105 as Bangladesh bundled Sri Lanka out for 397 in their first innings and then the openers batted aggressively to end the day on 76 for no loss in just 19 overs.
Tamim Iqbal was batting on 39 with youngster Mahmudul Hasan Joy on 31 and both of them looked comfortable in the crease as they dealt with the Sri Lankan pacers and spinners with ease.
Bangladesh are still trailing by 321 runs but the way the openers batted, it generated enough confidence.
But the credit should go to Nayeem. The local boy's six-wicket haul, which was his third five or more wicket haul, included Angelo Mathews who got out as the last batter for 199. This was heartbreaking for Mathews who carried his side astutely amid the Bangladeshi bowlers disciplined bowling on day two.
Shakib Al Hasan claimed 3-60 to complement the effort of Nayeem, who was playing his first Test since February last year.
Apart from Mathews, who missed out on his second double century, Dinesh Chandimal scored 66 and Kusal Mendis made 54.
Resuming the day on 258-4, Mathews and another overnight unbeaten batter Dinesh Chandimal made smooth progress despite some good bowling of Bangladesh bowlers.
The hosts' bowlers in fact were happy to stem the run flow as they were not getting assistance from the wicket.
Mathews, however, took the charge to go after the bowlers in his attempt to pace the scoreboard.
Chandimal, who appeared to be shaky initially, found his rhythm, hitting a six off left-arm spinner Taijul Islam.
But as it looked, Sri Lanka will head to lunch without losing any wicket, Chandimal made the first mistake of the day, trying to reverse sweep Nayeem. Chandimal made 66 off 148 with two fours and three sixes.
He reviewed the leg-before decision in vain as the 136-run partnership between him and Mathews came to an end.
Four balls later, Nayeem dismissed Niroshan Dickwell (3) with a quicker delivery that went straight to crash his stump.
Shakib then joined the party with the double strike to further peg back the Lankan innings.
Just after the lunch session, he took the wicket of Ramesh Mendis (1) with an arm ball before a quicker delivery hit the pad of Lasith Embuldenia to have him leg-before for a golden duck in the immediate next ball.
Vishwa Fernando dealt with the hat-trick ball successfully and to Bangladesh's surprise made a huge resistance when the home side sensed an early wrap-up of the Lankan innings.
With Fernando's assistance, Mathews grew strength to strength and kept Bangladesh busy for the rest of the session in the scorching heat.
After the Tea session, Asitha Fernando came to bat instead of Vishwa Fernando who was hit on the helmet by Shoriful Islam but Nayeem dismissed Asitha for 1 to complete his third five-for in Test cricket.
Fernando then came to bat again and partnered with Mathews with unwavering resolve. However, Mathews slogged one off Nayeem to square leg where Shakib completed the catch to remove him.