Sri Lanka batters made the Bangladesh bowlers toil hard as they amassed 291 for the loss of one wicket in the second Test match between them at Pallekele. Both the openers- Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne scored hundreds.
The second day of the match is likely to be another long fielding day for Bangladesh and according to batting coach Jon Lewis, they are up for it.
Sri Lanka skipper won the toss and elected to bat first. Fast bowler Shoriful Islam became the 97th cricketer and 6th left-arm pacer to represent Bangladesh in Tests. Sri Lanka made a couple of changes. Praveen Jayawickrama and Ramesh Mendis replaced Lahiru Kumara and Wanindu Hasaranga.
Sri Lanka openers settled down quickly as Mominul Haque introduced four bowlers inside ten overs. Taskin Ahmed carried his form from the previous match. He almost got rid of Karunaratne but he was dropped by Najmul Hossain Shanto at slip at the score of 28. He went on to score 118. Shoriful Islam accounted for the wicket of Karunaratne.
Lahiru Thirimanne brought up his third Test century as well and was unbeaten on 131. Oshada Fernando is accompanying him with 40 not out. This is only the third time that both Sri Lanka openers scored hundreds in the same innings.
Bangladesh were sloppy in the field on the first day. The dropped catch of Karunaratne proved very costly.
But Lewis said that they were human errors.
"It is easy to be critical. Not many chances were created today. In fact, in both Tests, it was tough to create too many chances around the bat. It is important on these surfaces that you make the most of the opportunities that the bowlers create. We probably missed one or two, and guys work hard on their fielding. It is a case of making it count in the middle. Maybe we did miss one or two today. Not ideal, but it is not due to lack of effort or attention to detail or practice. It is probably due to the fact that we are dealing with human beings here," Lewis said.
"We need to be ready for another long fielding day. I think it is a bit of a mirror image of the first Test. Although the pitch was good, we hoped to apply scoreboard pressure but Sri Lanka dealt with it very well. We have to learn from that and do the same. It seems like that Sri Lanka will get a big score. We will spend at least another couple of sessions in the field, and it is something we have to deal with. The pitch still looks good at the moment, and we have to deal with the fact that they have a score on the board. We have some batsmen with good form behind them after the first Test," he added.
Jon Lewis said that he would like to wait before judging the pitch. "I would like to judge it later in the game. I don't want to judge the pitch on day one. If it does play like the first one (Test), then that's necessarily ideal. There needs to be a bit more even contest between bat and ball. But if this starts to deteriorate and has more assistance to the spinners later in the day, then you can describe it as a decent Test pitch. We will have to wait and see."
The Bangladesh batting coach feels that this pitch might deteriorate on day four or five. He said, "I have never actually played here in Kandy before last week, so this is new to me. My feeling is that Sri Lanka would want this pitch to deteriorate more than the first Test pitch. It didn't really change through the five days, and didn't provide as good a Test as we'd have hoped for."
"It is frustrating but I have some sympathy for the bowlers. Their efforts can't be faulted. There isn't any assistance for bowling of any type. We are lucky that we have five bowlers. We made the decision in this series to use five bowlers. Looking at these surfaces so far, it has been a good decision. It is still hard. The weather is debilitating. It is pretty warm out there. I am impressed with the way the guys stuck to the task, but we have a few guys quite early in their Test career, particularly the seamers. They are learning all the time, but we want to win Tests. Not learning about Test matches. But even on days like today, we can take some encouraging steps forward," Lewis concluded.