Bangladesh Fall Short Despite Ashraful Century

Sri Lanka 293 (Samaraweera 91) & 405-6 declared beat
Bangladesh 178 (Muralitharan 6-49) & 413 (Ashraful 101) by 107 runs

By John Pennington

Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by 107 runs on the final day of the first Test in Mirpur but only after a century from captain Mohammad Ashraful put them under unexpected pressure.

Set 521 to win, Ashraful hit 101 and Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim both hit half-centuries as Bangladesh were eventually bowled out for 413. At one point on day four, they had been 180 for five but they recovered to post the sixth highest fourth innings score by a losing team in Tests.

Ashraful played some excellent strokes on his way to a fifth Test century, stroking 16 fours as he added 112 for the sixth wicket with Shakib, who fell four short of his own century but not before he had helped put on 111 for the seventh wicket with Mushfiqur.

Mushfiqur, who has been in outstanding form with the bat since his recall, hit 61 before becoming Muttiah Muralitharan's 10th wicket of the match as the off-spinner collected four for 141.

Dammika Prasad returned three for 105, bowling Shakib and having Mashrafe Mortaza (2) caught behind before Mahbubul Alam slipped looking for a third run and was run out for two to leave Sri Lanka the relieved victors having been pushed all the way by the home side.

Chaminda Vaas was the other man to take a wicket, trapping Ashraful in front after he had faced 193 balls.

Mahela Jayawardene, with 168, hit a big century for Sri Lanka to set up the victory after Muralitharan took six for 49 in Bangladesh's first innings of 178.

The second Test begins in Chittagong on January 3rd.

© Cricket World 2008