First Test

Sri Lanka v Bangladesh 2007

At Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo, June 25, 26, 27, 28, 2007. Sri Lanka won by an innings and 234 runs. Toss: Sri Lanka. Test debut: B. S. M. Warnapura.

Even by Bangladesh's modest standards, the opening day of their inaugural three- Test series with Sri Lanka ranked as one of their worst. On a crucial morning that cried out for old-fashioned doggedness and graft, Bangladesh's top order imploded in spectacular fashion. After a quiet first half hour, they collapsed to 69 for eight, and 42 minutes after lunch they were bowled out for a pathetic 89, in the 33rd over. By stumps, Sri Lanka were already 138 ahead; the match and the series appeared even more of a foregone conclusion than before.

Sri Lanka's quicker bowlers, Malinga and Vaas, made the initial inroads with the new ball. The aggressive Fernando bullied the middle order, pinning Habibul Bashar lbw and hurrying Mohammad Ashraful with a bouncer he top-edged to deep backward square leg. Finally, Muralitharan mesmerised the tail with his full armoury of variations, though four of his five wickets, which came in just 7.3 overs, fell to his doosra.

Shahadat Hossain was unfazed by the batting humiliation, bowling a fiery burst to reduce Sri Lanka to 14 for two in their fourth over. Malinda Warnapura marked his debut with a first-ball duck, playing all around a full inswinger, while Sangakkara was caught behind attempting to pull. Shahadat then kicked off the contest of the afternoon, peppering Mahela Jayawardene with short deliveries as he generated good pace and steep bounce. Jayawardene had some awkward moments, and was even caught in the gully off a no-ball on 17.

Once he had settled, however, he quickly asserted his authority with a succession of silken strokes. Shahadat was pulled and cut mercilessly as he persisted with his short length, and the left-arm spin duo, Abdur Razzak and Mohammad Rafique, were lofted down the ground and slog-swept high over midwicket. By the time he retired with leg cramps, Jayawardene had passed Aravinda de Silva to become the secondhighest scorer in Sri Lanka's Test history.

Sri Lanka might easily have opted for an early declaration and a quick kill. Instead, they opted to grind down the tourists on the humid second day, allowing the game to limp rather than hurry towards its inevitable conclusion. Vandort played stoically in accumulating his third Test century, enjoying a precious opportunity to push his credentials in the absence of Marvan Atapattu, who had declined selection, and the injured Upul Tharanga. On his dismissal, Jayawardene returned to complete an effortless 127 from 159 balls. His namesake, Prasanna Jayawardene, notched up his first Test hundred during a meandering afternoon, and the declaration eventually came when Vaas followed suit. It was his 97th Test, beating Jason Gillespie's record of 71 Tests for a maiden Test century, though Anil Kumble was to get there in August after an even longer wait.

Finally, Bangladesh produced a fight. The cause was hopeless - a deficit of 488 with just over three full days remaining - but they battled throughout the third day to close on 233 for five. Javed Omar, Shahriar Nafees and Rajin Saleh all showed greater patience and clearer methods than in the first innings. On the fourth morning, however, Malinga fired in his toecrushers, Murali tossed up his doosras, and the final five wickets fell in just 30 minutes.

Man of the Match: M. Muralitharan.

© John Wisden and Co.