There was not very much in it for the bowlers in the Chattogram Test and not for the first time. Angelo Mathews, in particular, delivered a timely reminder of his quality with the bat, falling just one run short of a double century in Sri Lanka’s first innings. Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim struck centuries in reply for Bangladesh, with Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Litton Das also in the runs for the hosts. But despite some early breakthroughs in Sri Lanka’s second innings, a result never looked likely.
Dinesh Chandimal, who made a fifty in the first innings, and Niroshan Dickwella made absolutely certain of that for Sri Lanka, with Chandimal stubbornly resisting for 39 runs from 135 balls whilst Dickwella played more expansively for his 61. Sri Lanka were already in the lead when that pair came together at the crease, but their advantage was narrow enough to keep Bangladesh just about in with a chance of snatching another excellent win.
Instead, both teams will turn their attentions to the second and final Test of this series in Mirpur which starts on the 23rd. Victory there would be very important for both teams, but particularly for Bangladesh. They have made some impressive strides in all three formats of late, most notably earning a creditable draw in a two-match Test series away from home against New Zealand and beating South Africa away in an ODI series.
But their performance in the World Test Championship still leaves a lot to be desired. That win over New Zealand in Mount Manganui remains their only victory in seven matches played and they were thrashed in their last series on home turf by Pakistan, despite rain doing its best to salvage them a draw in the second match. Their effort in Chattogram was a marked improvement on that, but if Bangladesh are to compete against the very best, they will need more.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, are better placed in the World Test Championship table, level on points with New Zealand having played one match fewer. But they are a long way from competing for a place in the final, with Pakistan 16 points clear of them in first place and second-placed South Africa 32 points ahead. Still, having been heavily reliant on Dimuth Karunaratne’s contributions of late, it will surely please new coach Chris Silverwood to have seen several players pass 50.
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