x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Jayawardene puts Sri Lanka in control

The captain Mahela Jayawardene returns to form with a century as Sri Lanka take control of the first Test against Bangladesh.

DHAKA // The captain Mahela Jayawardene returned to form with his 24th Test century as Sri Lanka took control on the third day of the first Test against Bangladesh. Jayawardene (129no) earlier shared a third-wicket stand of 135 with Kumar Sangakkara (67) as the tourists recovered in their second innings from 18-2 to 291-4 by stumps, and a lead of 406. Mahbubul Alam and Mashrafe Mortaza took a wicket each with the new ball before Sri Lanka's powerhouse middle-order pair got set.

Having been dismissed for 178 when Muttiah Muralitharan (6-49) saw No 11 Alam caught at short-leg in the first over of play following a half-hour delay for fog, Bangladesh already trailed by 115 runs on first innings. But Alam got his own back when he dismissed Malinda Warnapura lbw with a short-of-a-length delivery which kept low to hit its victim on the knee roll. Mortaza bowled Sri Lanka's other opener Michael Vandort through bat and pad with an outswinger which the tall left hander was trying to work through the on-side. But Sangakkara and Jayawardene then reached lunch unscathed - and afterwards, the left hander reached his half-century from 112 balls. He hit only four boundaries on the way to that milestone but doubled his tally before going caught behind off Mehrab Hossain Jr.

Jayawardene passed his 50 at a slightly quicker tempo and, in company with Thilan Samaraweera, went on to hit 12 fours and a six in his 177-ball hundred. He eventually lost Samaraweera to the last ball of the day, the second batsman to be bowled through the gate by Mortaza - ending a stand of 138 which had already ensured the hosts would face a mountainous task to save the game over the final two days. *PA Sport