Bangladesh put on one of their best-ever batting performances before suffering a 107-run defeat in the opening Test against Sri Lanka yesterday.
Chasing an unlikely 521-run target, the plucky Bangladesh batsmen were bowled out for 413 on the fifth and final afternoon after skipper Mohammad Ashraful’s brilliant 101 and man-of-the-match Shakib Al Hasan’s career-best 96.
It was Bangladesh’s fourth-highest total in 58 Tests and 11th-best fourth-innings performance in the history of the game.
On only four occasions have teams have won a Test after chasing more than 400 in the fourth innings.
Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan finished the match with 10-190, his 22nd haul of 10 or more wickets in a match.
Sri Lanka struggled for wickets for more than a session as Ashraful, Hasan and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim (61) all applied themselves remarkably well on a wearing fifth-day track.
The hosts called the shots in the morning session, adding 119 to their overnight total of 254-5 for the loss of just one wicket.
Ashraful, on 70 overnight, continued to defy the Sri Lankan attack with a wide range of strokes, reaching his hundred with a lofted drive for a four off veteran left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas.
Vaas, however, soon got a big wicket when he trapped Ashraful leg-before in his opening spell with the second new ball, but not before the Bangladeshi captain had added 112 for the sixth wicket with Hasan.
Ashraful smashed 16 fours in his fifth Test hundred — his fourth against Sri Lanka.
There was no respite for the visitors after Ashraful’s dismissal as Hasan and Rahim continued to do the good work, adding 111 for the seventh wicket to give their rivals many anxious moments.
Sri Lanka breathed a sigh of relief when Hasan fell just four runs short of his maiden Test hundred, inside-edging a short and wide delivery by pace bowler Dammika Prasad on to his stumps. He hit seven fours in his 212-ball knock.
Rahim was the ninth man out, caught at mid-wicket by Tillakaratne Dilshan off Muralitharan after hitting seven fours in his fourth Test half-century.
Mahbubul Alam was the last man to depart, run out for two.
The second and final Test starts in Chittagong on Saturday.