Mushfiqur Rahim, Litton Das grind Sri Lanka after Tamim Iqbal retires hurt on 133

Concussion sub Kasun Rajitha strikes twice to give visitors some respite in Chattogram

Stumps Bangladesh 318 for 3 (Tamim 133 retired hurt, Mahmudul 58, Litton 54*, Mushfiqur 53* Rajitha 2-17) trail Sri Lanka 397 (Mathews 199, Chandimal 66, Nayeem 6-105, Shakib 3-60) by 79 runs

Tamim Iqbal had been dismissed in the nineties twice in his the last five innings against Sri Lanka, coming into the first Test. He had seven half-centuries against them in the format, but had not breached the three-figure mark even once. The 31-year-old made sure he set the records straight as he notched up his 10th Test century on the third day, helping the hosts take control of the first Test, in Chattogram.

By stumps, Bangladesh had piled on 318 for 3 and were just 79 runs away from Sri Lanka’s first-innings score of 397. Mushfiqur Rahim, who is just 15 runs away from becoming the first Bangladesh player to reach 5000 runs in Test cricket, ended the day unbeaten on 53. Litton Das, who added 98 with Mushfiqur, was also unbeaten, on 54. Tamim, for the most part looked like reaching the 5000-run mark first, but was forced to retire hurt on 133 because of cramps. He is now 19 runs away from the landmark.

The third day, though, firmly belonged to Tamim, who fought the weather, and some tight bowling. He was his usual aggressive self from the get-go and found boundaries at regular intervals in the morning session. Unbeaten on 35 overnight, Tamim raced to his fifty in the fifth over the morning and notched up his ton shortly after lunch. However, the humid conditions got the better of him and he could not come out to bat after tea.

Resuming on 76 for 0, still 321 runs behind, Bangladesh’s batters quickly went about their job. In a near-perfect morning session, Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Tamim added 81 runs in 28 overs, as Bangladesh went to lunch unscathed on 157 for 0.

Tamim brought up his fifty by cutting Ramesh Mendis wide of point for a four and it did not take long for the duo to bring up Bangladesh’s first century stand for the opening wicket in over five years.

Mahmudul, too, raised his second half-century in just his fifth Test with a flick through midwicket but fell shortly after lunch. Having had a reprieve on 51, when Lasith Embuldeniya failed to hold on to a catch at the fine-leg, the 21-year-old finally fell for 58 to Asitha Fernando. Continuing with his ploy of bowling short from around the wicket, Asitha induced a faint tickle off Mahmudul’s bat and glove down leg through to the keeper, with the opening stand ending on 162.

Tamim though continued on his merry ways, as he coasted through the nineties with a couple of fours before reaching his century by flicking Asitha to deep midwicket.

However, having looked flat in the morning, Sri Lanka were much better with their control in the second session. Kasun Rajitha came in as concussion substitute for Vishwa Fernando, who suffered from dizziness after he was struck on the head late on day two by a Shoriful Islam bouncer. And it was Rajitha, who pulled Sri Lanka back in the game with two quick strikes.

Concussion sub Kasun Rajitha picked up two quick wickets•Getty Images

The seamer accounted for Najmul Hossain Shanto for 1, in his very first over before sending back Mominul Haque for 2. Bowling from around the wicket, he first induced an outside edge off Najmul’s bat through to the keeper and then crept through the gap between Mominul’s bat and pad to clean him up.

With the surface playing a few tricks, Sri Lanka had the chance to take control. Ramesh seemed to have Tamim caught behind on 102 but the decision was overturned on review. When the outside edge did arrive off Tamim’s blade a few overs later, Dhananjaya de Silva failed to hold to the chance at first slip, when the opener on 114.

Mushfiqur and Tamim survived the 45 minutes or so before tea, but it was evident that the heat was getting to Tamim. Sri Lanka would have sensed a chance to stamp their dominance on the game in the final session. However, Litton and Mushfiqur had other ideas.

Litton, in particular, showed maturity. He started off cautiously but made sure the loose deliveries did not go unpunished. Mushfiqur,too, held his end up well.

Litton was the first to reach his fifty, his 12th in Test cricket, with an elegant flick wide of mid-on. He looked untroubled for the most part. Barring a chance at short leg, which the fielder failed to latch on to, Litton gave nothing away.

Mushfiqur too reached his fifty soon after and will be hoping to break the 5000-run barrier early on day four. For Sri Lanka, their only bright spot was Rajitha, who wasn’t originally included in the starting XI.