Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Colombo, 4th day March 18, 2017

'Loss to Bangladesh could scar SL cricket'

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Mustafizur Rahman's three-wicket haul ripped open the game in the middle session © AFP

A home loss to Bangladesh will be a blemish on Sri Lankan cricket, said Dimuth Karunaratne, while his side hung precariously in the Test at the P Sara Oval.

Having lost five top-order wickets for 47 runs in the middle session, Sri Lanka are in danger of losing their first Test at home in seven matches. They are 139 runs ahead, with two wickets in hand. The lowest target successfully defended at this venue is 244 - in the last Test Sri Lanka played here, in 2015.

"We have never lost a Test to Bangladesh, and we have a good home record recently, thanks to the win over Australia," Karunaratne said. "If we lose here it could be a big scar on our cricket as well. We are at fault and we do need to own that mistake. I'm sure we'll come out firing tomorrow to save the game."

The man largely responsible for backing Sri Lanka up against the wall was Mustafizur Rahman, who claimed 3 for 24 in what may be remembered as the spell of the series - at least from a seam bowler. Sri Lanka had progressed to 143 for 1 with relative comfort before Mustafizur was brought into the attack after lunch. At the end of that seven over spell, Bangladesh had a firm grip on the match, with a wicket having fallen at the other end as well.

"Mustafizur took the game away from us," Karunaratne said. "He reverse swung the ball well. He was bowling around the wicket to right-handers and the angle he was creating was difficult for the batsmen. We knew what he was doing and we had a plan to play the ball that was coming in and leave the ball that was going away. He bowls a maximum of five overs in a spell and we should have played that out. We panicked. We didn't plan things out well. The wicket was set and maybe that gave us a false sense of security to go for runs instead of seeing off that period."

Though they scored only 214 runs in the day for the loss of eight wickets, Karunaratne also said the pitch held no major terrors. He had himself made 126 on it, and Sri Lanka's ninth-wicket pair of Suranga Lakmal and Dilruwan Perera put on 30 in the span of 52 deliveries towards the end of play.

"A batsman needs to have some time to get set, and that period can produce a few chances, but the way that Dilruwan and Suranga batted shows that wicket hasn't become that bad yet," he said. "The fast bowlers are having some reverse but I would say it is still a good wicket to bat on.

"We have close to 140 lead, but if we can get a lead closer to 200 it will be much better. Or else we have to take quick wickets. Their openers are the key - they've scored a lot of runs this series, and we can put them under pressure if we dismiss them early. Before that, the remaining batsmen have to remain positive and rotate the strike and see how it goes."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ahmed Yousuf on March 23, 2017, 5:23 GMT

    "This point of Karunaratne" we are really want to change. As a test team Bangladesh is improving & definitely we can challenge other teams in test. Yes, we do have our lacking, but that "never been lost & will" attitude will make no difference. I don't know why it is so hard to accept that Bangladesh have improved in test.

  • cricfan08189813 on March 22, 2017, 11:59 GMT

    Win and loss are the part of the game. It's completely okay to lose a game or to accept a failure unless you don't try to learn your mistakes.

  • Ted on March 19, 2017, 14:36 GMT

    Congrats to BD.! they fought hard to make their 100th test, a success over SL. Good to see a massive improvement in all 3 departments.

    At a time every country pressing their home advantage to the max... to the level of doctoring the decks to suite the host, as a SL, I wonder what the Psara Curator had done to that deck at Oval, totally misleading the home side who won the toss & elected to bat? It seems, for some strange reason the curator had completely REVERSED the usually expected BEHAVIOR at that venue, by making the day-1 the hardest for batters by providing lethal assistance to the bowlers in entire first session & sustained that with little lesser intense, until the 3rd session, certainly making the DAY-1 was the HARDEST to bat compared to other 4 days! Also, the curator seems to have totally defeated the purpose of batting first, by making a deceiving deck lasted equally well for batting in rest of the days, WITHOUT giving the expected advantage for bowlers in Final 2 days!

  •   Cricinfouser on March 19, 2017, 9:41 GMT

    Well it should'nt be that bad.Loosing is a part of the game.It is a very well played test match and BD seems to be the deserved winners.SL has nothing to loose because of this loss but on the other hand it is historic for BD.Let us congratulate their success.

  • Debra on March 19, 2017, 5:02 GMT

    SL even thinking of losing to bangladesh. awful.

  •   espn54839154 on March 19, 2017, 4:58 GMT

    Its a game so one team will lose .what is it srilanka become world better or something .by the way bangladesh is playing

  • amit on March 19, 2017, 4:41 GMT

    Nothing wrong in losing to Bangladesh. They are a very improved team and are still underrated due to their poor past performances

  • Shehan on March 19, 2017, 4:30 GMT

    Soild and steady batsman such as Romesh Buddika, Roshen Silva are highly required for the SL test team now, otherwise it will be difficult to stop these kind of collapses with batsman who are more suited to limited over versions of the game such as Dickwella, Gunaratne etc.

  •   Saiful Islam on March 19, 2017, 4:18 GMT

    I'm sorry,I'm not agree with you Mr Fernando. Bangladesh is a much improved team right now and you have to accept it.

  • udendra on March 19, 2017, 3:40 GMT

    Well the current SLC administration needs to take full responsibility of this if it happens.

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