Mominul puts Bangladesh in strong position

·2-min read

Captain Mominul Haque completed a century beside newcomer Najmul Shanto as their 242-run partnership lifted Bangladesh to a commanding 4-474 against Sri Lanka on day two of the first Test.

Shanto, who started the day on 126 - his maiden Test century - was out for 163 soon after lunch to end their third-wicket stand.

Mominul reached his 11th Test century in the morning session and was out, too, before tea in the only other wicket to fall all day.

Mushfiqur Rahim was on 43 and Liton Das on 25 when play was ended 96 minutes early due to bad light. Play will resume 15 minutes early on day three after 25 overs were lost on day two.

The batsmen have done remarkably well considering they came into the Test amid intense criticism after losing a home series to West Indies and losing six white ball games in New Zealand.

They are without their best player - allrounder Shakib Al Hasan - and best fast bowler - Mustafizur Rahman - both of whom are playing in the Indian Premier League.

"I am really happy for the boys," Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo said. "They have taken a lot of criticism over the last couple of weeks. They have come back and put in a big performance in foreign conditions. They were positive and hungry, and worked really hard. Some of them got good rewards."

Shanto showed why he was rated so highly in Bangladesh with 163 in his seventh Test. Batting for more than eight hours, Shanto faced 378 deliveries. He hit 17 boundaries and a six. Dropped on 28 by Niroshan Dickwella, Shanto showcased his Test match temperament by not taking any undue risks.

Mominul was more free-flowing with some elegant strokes, including 11 boundaries. His 127 was his 11th Test hundred, the most by a Bangladeshi batsman.

"We didn't get as much support from the wicket as we thought," Sri Lanka seamer Vishwa Fernando said. "We felt it was dry underneath and it's now a batting wicket. Today, the plan was to cut down the runs and fence them in."

Much was expected of Lahiru Kumara, who has the ability to clock 150 kph, but he got little help from the track.

Kumara did dismiss Shanto when he took a return catch but much more was expected of him when he was picked ahead of Asitha Fernando.

Allrounder Dhananjaya de Silva picked up the other wicket of Mominul, who edged to Lahiru Thirimanne in the slips.