Sangakkara ton drives Sri Lanka

Bangladesh

An outstanding century from veteran batsman Kumar Sangakkara was the driving force behind Sri Lanka's dominance on day one of the first Test against Bangladesh at the Galle International Stadium on Friday.

An outstanding century from veteran batsman Kumar Sangakkara was the driving force behind Sri Lanka's dominance on day one of the first Test against Bangladesh at the Galle International Stadium on Friday.

Sangakkara reached the 31st ton of his career to draw level with former captain Mahela Jayawardene as the country's most prolific centurion, with a characteristically sound 142 pushing the score to 361 for three before rain ended proceedings prematurely.

All-rounder Angelo Mathews, in his first Test as captain, won the toss and had no hesitation in opting to bat first on a pitch – and against a visiting attack – not expected to trouble the host batsmen.

This proved entirely the case, with Sri Lanka batting at a rate of four runs an over, at some stages in excess of five, for the day's entirety. What a first-wicket stand of 114 started, a second-wicket partnership of 67 built on. What a third-wicket alliance of 124 continued, an unbroken 54-run share completed.

Opportunity consistently knocked for the batsmen to fill their boots, and openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Tillakaratne Dilshan obliged to the tune of 41 and 54 respectively. Both men, however, will know a century apiece was in the offing, were it not for their impatience against off-spinner Sohag Gazi.

Gazi was the pick of a largely nonthreatening attack, clinching all three of Friday's wickets. Afforded little turn, but wise in his variation of flight and pace, the 21-year-old aquitted himself well in the absence of injured fellow spinners Enamul Haque Junior and Shakib Al Hasan.

Sangakkara's vigil featured 16 fours and three sixes and was never under duress. A man who had scored two double-centuries against Bangladesh previously, looked good for a third – but instead holed out at short cover. Admittedly, it was a superb catch – at second grab – from fielder Jahurul Islam that ended an otherwise sound 142.

The left-handed Sangakkara's departure allowed the talented Lahiru Thirimanne to step from the veteran's shadow. Taking his cue for a complementary 74 not out, the limited-overs convert enjoyed fine support from Mathews' 25 not out.

Such was the prevailing nature of Sri Lanka's approach, a Decision Review System absent due to excessive cost wouldn't have been required regardless. Appeals for lbw were few and far between, all of which were entirely unjustifiable regardless.

The home side can now contemplate a first-innings score of 500-plus come Saturday, when triumph at the toss will oblige Mathews' bid to bat just once. Bangladesh, meanwhile, must ponder their resolve – and combat a host attack completed by the services of spinner Rangana Herath, who sports a very successful record in Galle.

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