Lakmal claims two wickets off successive deliveries

CHITTAGONG: Bangladesh cricketer Mominul Haque reacts after scoring a century (100 runs) during the first day of the first cricket Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong yesterday. — AFP

CHITTAGONG: Mominul Haque hit a towering century to help Bangladesh take opening day honours in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Chittagong yesterday. Mominul hit an unbeaten 175 as the hosts reached 374-4 at stumps after electing to bat first at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.

The left-hander shared a 236-run third-wicket stand with former captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who fell just short of his fifth Test hundred after scoring 92 off 192 balls. Skipper Mahmudullah Riyad, on nine, was batting alongside Mominul when stumps were drawn at the start of the two-match series.

Opener Tamim Iqbal gave the hosts a strong start with his brisk 52 and said it was "a fantastic day" for Bangladesh. "We were very positive and attacking from ball one. It was nice to see."

Suranga Lakmal struck with the second new ball to claim two wickets off successive deliveries and give Sri Lanka some respite late into the final session. Lakmal, who returned figures of 2-43, forced Mushfiqur to edge behind the stumps after he had struck 10 fours in his relatively sedate innings.

The medium-pacer bowled Liton Das for a duck with the next ball, which swung late to uproot the off-stump after the batsman had attempted to leave the delivery. But Mominul was dominant at the other end, hitting 16 fours and a six off veteran spinner Rangana Herath during his stay, which has lasted 203 balls so far.

The 26-year-old posted his fifth Test century and his first in more than three years off just 96 balls, with back-to-back fours off left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan. He then hit Herath for his only six to reach 160 and bring up his 2,000 Test runs in his 47th innings.

Mominul was the fastest Bangladeshi to achieve the feat, overtaking Tamim's record of 53 innings. Sri Lankan batting coach Thilan Samaraweera was full of praise for Mominul, who is nicknamed Mini. "We should have bowled better than that. It is 40 runs too many for our part..." he said.

Mominul's masterful display at his favourite ground came after Bangladesh had lost both openers, Tamim and Imrul Kayes, in the morning session. Tamim made 52 off 53 balls, sharing a 72-run opening stand with Kayes (40), until off-spinner Dilruwan Perera bowled him with a beautiful delivery that pitched outside off-stump and spun sharply.

Tamim struck six fours, and a sweetly timed six off Perera over long-on, in his 25th Test fifty. Sandakan trapped Kayes leg-before on the stroke of lunch, ending the left-hander's 75-ball stay. - AFP