Karunaratne 50 helps Sri Lanka take lead against Bangladesh

COLOMBO: Dimuth Karunaratne's half-century helped Sri Lanka comfortably erase a 129-run first innings deficit and reach 137-1 at lunch on the fourth day of the second cricket test against Bangladesh on Saturday.

Sri Lanka started the day 54-0, still trailing Bangladesh by 75, but ended the first session leading by eight runs with nine wickets in hand.

Offspinner Mehedi Hasan provided Bangladesh the much-needed breakthrough with only three more runs added to the overnight score, bowling Upul Tharanga for 26.

Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis consolidated the innings with their risk-free batting and rotating the strike. They had an 80-run unbroken partnership at the break.

Karunaratne was unbeaten on 67, for his fifth test half-century. He faced 133 balls and hit six boundaries. Mendis was batting on 36. Hasan had bowling figures of 1-53.

On Friday Shakib Al Hasan scored his fifth test hundred and was part of two big partnerships which put Bangladesh in command with a 75-run lead at stumps.

Bangladesh was bowled out for 467 in its first innings in reply to Sri Lanka's first innings score of 338.

Shakib faced 159 deliveries for his 116, including 10 boundaries. He shared 92 for the sixth wicket with captain Mushfiqur Rahim (52) to steady Bangladesh from a vulnerable position of 198 for five.

They had lost three wickets for six runs close to stumps on day two after a good start, leaving Shakib and the lower middle order to rebuild the innings.

Shakib then combined for a 131-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Mossadek Hossain, who made a half-century on debut and was last out for a well-made 75.

Hossain faced 155 deliveries and hit seven boundaries and two sixes.

Sri Lanka's openers started their second innings positively and made 54 without loss in the 13 overs they faced.

Sri Lanka leads the two-match series after winning the first test by 259 runs last week.