Second Test

Sri Lanka v Bangladesh 2007

At P. Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo, July 3, 4, 5, 2007. Sri Lanka won by an innings and 90 runs. Toss: Sri Lanka. Test debut: Mehrab Hossain, jun.

Depressingly for Bangladesh, the Second Test followed a near-identical pattern to the First. They survived even fewer overs - 111.4 compared to 119.4 - and were bowled out for an even more humiliating 62 in 25.2 overs in the first innings. It was the worst total in Bangladesh's Test history; their previous low was 86, also in Colombo, at the R. Premadasa Stadium in 2005-06. Once again, a Sri Lankan run-spree ensued, and this time Bangladesh lost inside three days.

The home attack carried on where they had left off, with Malinga cutting through the top order and Muralitharan making easy work of the tail. Malinga bowled with vigour and venom, swinging the new ball dangerously on a pitch which, typically for this venue, offered good pace and bounce in the first session. Shahriar Nafees missed a curving inswinger, Javed Omar feathered a classic outswinger and Habibul Bashar prodded tentatively to second slip. When Warnapura, carefully placed at an unusually deep-set short leg, gobbled up a sharp reflex catch off an instinctive leg-side flick from Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh were in tatters on 22 for four. Rajin Saleh was the only man to reach double figures as Fernando, succeeding a strangely lacklustre Vaas, chipped in with two scalps and Muralitharan's doosras were once again impossible for the tailenders to decode.

They were all out two balls after lunch, and Sri Lanka batted out the next two sessions without alarm. Vandort perished after a lackadaisical defensive stroke, but Warnapura followed his debut duck with a gritty 82, clipping efficiently off his legs and scoring most of his runs square of the wicket. Sangakkara, visibly determined to build a large innings, started cautiously, and Sri Lanka accumulated at a modest rate, reaching 154 for one at stumps.

Bangladesh struck early on day two as Warnapura, cramped by a short ball, topedged a pull. They might have added Mahela Jayawardene in the next over, when he edged Mashrafe bin Mortaza through a ridiculously large gap between Mushfiqur Rahim, the new wicketkeeper, and first slip. A few balls later, Sangakkara's edge just evaded Mortaza, now at first slip himself. A further lapse saw Mohammad Rafique spilling a simple return chance off Jayawardene.

Sri Lanka rode their good fortune and, after a relatively slow morning, raised the tempo after lunch. Jayawardene departed just after the interval, miscuing a pull off Shahadat Hossain, the most penetrative bowler, but Sangakkara started to score more freely in partnership with Silva and later Vaas. His double-century, the fifth of his career, was not his most fluent, taking seven hours 50 minutes and 325 balls, with 20 fours and two sixes, but it was a masterclass in application and careful shot selection from a batsman who had been struggling for form.

It was also the signal for the declaration, with 14 overs left to the close. Bangladesh's openers started what needed to be another long fight for survival in carefree style, racing to 48 in just 41 deliveries. That hectic pace was always likely to be unsustainable, and Nafees's risk-taking backfired when he nicked a flashy drive off Vaas. Three more quick blows meant that Bangladesh finished the second day on 69 for four, still trailing by 320.

With the ignominy of a seven-session thrashing looming, Ashraful and Rahim eschewed their normal flamboyance during a mature stand of 191, a sixth-wicket record for Bangladesh. The most striking feature of their rearguard action was the proficiency with which, temporarily at least, they negated the threat of Muralitharan: defending with soft hands, using their feet and surviving the doosra, which could be read off an increasingly slow-paced pitch. Ashraful reached his fourth Test hundred, a Bangladesh record. But when Jayawardene took the second new ball, the match was soon wrapped up.

Man of the Match: K. C. Sangakkara.

© John Wisden and Co.