Sunday, 3 July, 2022

Liton, Mushfiq rescue Tigers from Lions’ grip

Liton, Mushfiq rescue Tigers from Lions’ grip
Mushfiqur Rahim greets Liton Das after his century on the first day of their second Test against Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on Monday. The Mr dependable also hits a ton. – AFP PHOTO

Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim rescued the Tigers from the clasp of Sri Lankan Lions by scoring scintillating hundreds with a world-record partnership on the opening day of the series-concluding second Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Monday.

Liton scored a brilliant unbeaten 135 off 221 balls while Mushfiqur made an excellent 115 off 252 balls (not out) as Bangladesh finished the first day’s play at 277-5 after they were reduced to 24-5 in 6.5 overs by the visiting side.

The pair put up an unbroken stand of 253 runs to set up a new record of the highest sixth-wicket partnership after a team lost five wickets within 25 runs and also created the highest partnership record for the hosts in Test format.

Pakistan’s Wallis Mathias and Shujauddin Butt held the previous record by sharing an 86-run stand against West Indies in 1959 in Dhaka after their team slumped to 22-5.

Liton and Mushfiqur also went past the previous highest record of 191 runs for the sixth wicket by Mohammad Ashraful and Mushfiqur against the same opposition in Colombo in 2007 through their brilliant stand.

However, Bangladesh sustained a nightmarish start in the game after they lost half of their side within the seventh over of the day after they won the toss and chose to bat first.

Opener Mahmudul Hasan Joy was bowled by pacer Kasun Rajitha only in the second ball of the game before last match’s centurion Tamim Iqbal was handed a duck by Asitha Fernando in the next over.

It was the only third time Bangladesh lost both openers on duck in a Test innings and the last two incidents happened in 2010 and 2014 respectively against India and Zimbabwe with Tamim involved in both the occasions.

Skipper Mominul Haque then continued his poor run of form in Test format as he was dismissed by Asitha (2-80) for nine runs while Rajitha (3-43) removed Najmul Hossain Shanto (eight) and Shakib Al Hasan (0) in successive deliveries to put Bangladesh into backfoot.

However, Liton and Mushfiqur, who put up a 165-run stand for the fourth wicket during the last Test in Chattogram, came as a rescuer again and they ensured no further damage to the Bangladesh innings in the first session and took their score to 66-5.

Both the batsmen started to score runs freely in the post-lunch session where they added 87 runs in 30 overs with both of them completing their respective fifty in the same session.

Sri Lanka could have got the wicket of Liton when the batsman tried to play a pull shot off Ashita but substitute fielder Kamindu Mendis failed to grab the catch at the square leg that gave the wicketkeeper-batsman a life on 47.

Liton and Mushfiqur then frustrated Sri Lankan bowlers again in the third session where they reached their respective third and ninth Test tons while taking Bangladesh’s score over the 270-run mark.

While Liton was on 95, he ran off a misfield and the fielder tried a hit at the stumps only for the ball to roll away for four overthrows and thus he completed his hundred.

A few overs later, Mushfiqur completed his successive Test ton by taking a single off Ramesh Mendis at the backward point.

Bangladesh earlier made two changes in their playing XI as they included Mosaddek Hossain and Ebadot Hossain in place of injured off-spinner Nayeem Hasan and left-arm pacer Shoriful Islam.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, opted for left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama in Lasith Embuldeniya’s place.