Third Test

Sri Lanka v Bangladesh 2007

At Kandy, July 11, 12, 13, 14, 2007. Sri Lanka won by an innings and 193 runs. Toss: Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh could not avert a third successive innings defeat, their fourth in succession, after more miserable batting. They carried the Test into a fourth day only because rain severely interrupted the first two; in terms of overs, it was the shortest Overseas Cricket match of the series, and should have been done by lunch on day three. Bangladesh's two innings occupied just 107.5 overs, meaning that their average partnership lasted less than 33 balls.

Once again, the chief architect of their landslide defeat was Muralitharan. He started needing 12 wickets for 700 in Test cricket; with perfect timing, he reached the landmark with the last ball of the series, in his home town, Kandy. He finished with 12 for 82, his 20th ten-wicket haul in Test cricket (Shane Warne is the only other bowler with ten). The modest celebrations - a quick press conference in the VIP tea-room - showed that Muralitharan was more focused on Warne's 708-wicket record.

Only 29 overs were possible on the first day, in three short spells after Mahela Jayawardene had won his third consecutive toss. Between the breaks for rain and bad light, Bangladesh slipped to 72 for four; Muralitharan claimed his first two victims when Rajin Saleh edged a doosra to slip and Shahriar Nafees mistimed a drive to mid-off.

On the second rain-marred day, when only intermittent play was possible, left-armer Sujeewa de Silva prised out the last two specialist batsmen, Mohammad Ashraful and Tushar Imran, bowling a tight line at a busy pace with just enough swing to find the outside edge in his first Test for five years. Then Jayawardene tossed the ball to Muralitharan, who opened his account for the day with a brilliant one-handed return catch, and ended up with a bag of six.

The third and final day started with Bangladesh's best hour of the series with the ball. After an early start to make up for lost time, Shahadat Hossain steamed in to bowl a hostile spell, which went unrewarded, and Syed Rasel, in his first game of the series, maintained an exemplary line and length while swinging the ball both ways; he pinned Tharanga, back after a foot injury, lbw and bowled Vandort through the gate to leave Sri Lanka 74 for two.

Thereafter, Bangladesh's fortunes nosedived. Jayawardene, in majestic form, snatched back the initiative with a brace of boundaries and a pulled six off Shahadat. He was the more expansive batsman early on, while Sangakkara played himself in assiduously. But, as the sun dried off the early morning juice in the pitch, runs began to flow freely and they matched each other stroke for stroke, Sangakkara bringing up his hundred two overs after Jayawardene.

They had added 311 in four and a half hours when Jayawardene offered a simple catch to mid-off, but Sangakkara pressed on to his sixth Test double-century, a feat bettered only by Don Bradman (12), Brian Lara (9) and Wally Hammond (7). He finished unbeaten on 222, from 277 balls in six hours 36 minutes, with 28 fours. Sri Lanka had scored a staggering 470 in 98.2 overs during the day, and declared overnight on 500 for four.

Needing 369 to make them bat again, Bangladesh started positively, reaching 106 for two on the fourth morning. But the last eight tumbled for 70 in the next session, with two apiece for Malinga and de Silva before Muralitharan claimed Syed Rasel as No. 700.

Man of the Match: M. Muralitharan. Man of the Series: M. Muralitharan.

© John Wisden and Co.