Sri Lanka on top

Chittagong, January 4:

Sri Lanka bowled themselves to a position of strength despite a rearguard rally by Bangladesh

tailender Mashrafe Mortaza on the second day of the second and final Test here today.

Spinners Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan shared seven wickets to bowl out the hosts for 208 in their first innings in reply to Sri Lanka’s strong 384. It was Mortaza who spared Bangladesh the ignominy of following on, adding 63 for the last wicket with Shahadat Hossain (five not out) after they were reeling at 145-9.

Mortaza hit eight fours and two sixes in his 89-ball 63. The only other player to offer some resistance was skipper Mohammad Ashraful who made 45 off 100 balls with five fours and a six. Sri Lankan openers Malinda Warnapura (seven) and Prasanna Jayawardene (six) took their team to 13-0 in their second innings at close for an overall lead of 189.

Mendis, playing only his fourth Test and his first away from home after missing the opening game in Dhaka due to an ankle injury, rattled the home team with his guiles. He removed Mehrab Hossain (18) and the in-form Shakib Al Hasan for a first-ball duck off successive balls besides taking the wickets of Mushfiqur Rahim (21) and Raqibul Hasan to finish with figures of 4-71.

Mendis, who enjoyed a sensational debut against India last year picking 26 wickets from three Tests, also got able support from Muralitharan (3-62). The veteran bowler brought to an end a spirited knock by Ashraful, who flayed him for a six and two fours in an over, by having him caught behind.

Earlier Chaminda Vaas dismissed both the openers to deny Bangladesh a strong start in their first innings. The fast bowler removed Tamim Iqbal for a duck in the opening over and trapped Imrul Kayes leg before for six, Bangladesh slipping to a precarious 26-2.

Mendis picked the third Bangladeshi wicket to fall in the morning when Raqibul Hasan failed to read a straighter one from the bowler and was adjudged leg before. Bangladesh’s batsmen failed to build on the good work of their bowlers who dismissed the visitors after they had added just 13 runs to their overnight total of 371-6. Shakib picked three of the four remaining wickets to finish with 4-109. Sri Lanka lead the two-Test series 1-0 after winning

the opening Test in Dhaka by 107 runs.