It took all of 21 balls on the third morning for Sri Lanka to pull the plug and declare, leaving Niroshan Dickwella stranded on 77, with his quest for his maiden Test century getting longer. He was the aggressor in that fifteen-minute phase, hitting Mehidy Hasan for a six and a four off consecutive deliveries. Alas, Taskin Ahmed struck at the other end to get a four-fer and his career-best figures, removing Ramesh Mendis with a quick short ball that he top-edged to the deep, and drawing curtains to the innings at 493 for 7.
On a pitch that is predominantly still a very good batting surface, it was the new ball that the Lankans had to make the most of. But with Tamim Iqbal in the mood and smashing it around for fun, and his fellow opener Saif Hassan looking pretty steady and giving him solid support from the other end, there wasn't much the bowlers could do.Apart from an LBW appeal against Tamim off the bowling of Suranga Lakmal on the very second ball that Sri Lanka reviewed and found pitching down leg on ball-tracking, there was barely a chance created for over 90 minutes. The southpaw, though, wasn't holding back, looking to be very positive and put the pressure back on the inexperienced attack.
He started off with a flick off Lakmal in the first over, followed it up with back to back boundaries against Vishwa Fernando a couple of overs later, and then cut loose against the spinners to bring up his fifty in just 57 balls.
But right at the stroke of lunch, with the session about to get pocketed by Bangladesh, Praveen Jayawickrama produced a top delivery to bag his maiden Test scalp, drawing Saif forward with the loop, only to dip sharply in front of him, grip, and turn away to take the edge to slip. And off the next over and the last ball before the break, Najmul Hossain Shanto fell to the pressures of wanting to keep out that one final delivery, hence poking a Mendis off-spinner tentatively from his crease and nicking off to slip.
Brief scores: Bangladesh 99/2 (Tamim Iqbal 70, Saif Hassan 25; Praveen Jayawickrama 1-20) trail Sri Lanka 493/7 decl (Lahiru Thirimanne 140, Dimuth Karunaratne 118; Taskin Ahmed 4-127) by 394 runs