CHITTAGONG: Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das struck fifties after Tamim Iqbal made a hundred to put Bangladesh in pole position in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Chittagong on Tuesday.
Liton hit 54 not out and Mushfiqur made 53 not out as the pair added 98 runs in an unbroken stand to guide Bangladesh to 318-3 at stumps on the third day, in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings 397.
Tamim retired on 133 after reaching his 10th Test hundred with a four and single off Asitha Fernando off successive balls before tea.
But he is expected to resume his 217-ball innings – including 15 fours – on the fourth day when Bangladesh will aim to accelerate their scoring rate in pursuit of a first-innings lead.
Liton joined Mushfiqur when Tamim did not return after the break and helped Bangladesh continue their dominance without facing serious trouble.
Liton pulled Lasith Embuldeniya for four to bring up his 12th Test fifty off 96 balls before Mushfiqur reached his own fifty, his 26th in Tests, in the next over with a single off Kasun Rajitha.
Liton led the charge with eight fours while Mushfiqur played the anchor role as he took 124 balls to bring up his fifty, with just two fours so far.
Sri Lanka’s bowlers briefly halted Bangladesh’s run flow after Fernando broke Tamim’s 162-run opening stand with Mahmudul Hasan, who made 58 off 142 balls before edging a leg-side delivery behind the stumps.
Concussion substitute Rajitha then removed Najmul Hossain for one and Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque for two to restore some parity in the game.
Replacing Vishwa Fernando, who took a blow on the helmet on Monday and could bowl only eight overs in the innings, Rajitha struck with his fourth ball as Najmul gave a regulation catch to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella.
Five overs later Rajitha swung a ball in to break Mominul’s off-stump.
Tamim was earlier given out caught behind on 102 off Ramesh Mendis but the decision was reversed on review.
Resuming on 76-0, Bangladesh started the day’s play confidently as Tamim dispatched left-arm quick Fernando for two fours in the second over of the day, before bringing up his 32nd Test fifty off 73 balls with a boundary.
Sri Lanka dropped the only chance that came their way in the morning as Embuldeniya dropped Mahmudul at fine-leg off Asitha on 51.
The 21-year-old, playing only his fifth Test, soon completed his second Test half-century in 110 balls when he flicked Asitha towards mid-wicket for a double.
Angelo Mathews had held the Sri Lankan innings together before agonisingly falling on 199.
Off-spinner Nayeem Hasan claimed 6-105 for Bangladesh.