CHITTAGONG: Mominul Haque hit a towering century to help Bangladesh take opening day honours in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Chittagong on Wednesday.
Mominul hit an unbeaten 175 as the hosts reached 374-4 at stumps after electing to bat first at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
The left-hander shared a national record 236-run third-wicket partnership with former captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who fell just short of his fifth Test hundred after scoring 92 off 192 balls.
It was Bangladesh’s highest score on Day 1 of any Test, eclipsing 365-8 scored against the West Indies in Khulna in 2012.
Skipper Mahmudullah, on nine, was batting alongside Mominul when stumps were drawn at the start of the two-match series.
Tamim Iqbal launched Bangladesh’s innings in aggressive style, hitting pace bowler Lahiru Kumara for three boundaries in succession in the second over of the day.
Tamim and fellow opener Imrul Kayes shared 72 runs in only 16 overs.
The opener reached his 25th 50 off only 46 balls and looked solid until off-spinner Dilruwan Perera crashed his stump with a quicker one. Tamim hit six fours and one straight six off Perera’s bowling.
Sandakan trapped Imrul (40) leg-before on the stroke of lunch, ending the left-hander’s 75-ball stay.
Tamim said it was ‘a fantastic day’ for Bangladesh. “We were very positive and attacking from ball one. It was nice to see.”
Suranga Lakmal struck with the second new ball to claim two wickets off successive deliveries and give Sri Lanka some respite late into the final session.
Lakmal, who returned figures of 2-43, forced Mushfiqur to edge behind the stumps after he had struck 10 fours in his relatively sedate innings.
The medium-pacer bowled Liton Das for a duck with the next ball, which swung late to uproot the off-stump after the batsman had attempted to leave the delivery.
But Mominul was dominant at the other end, hitting 16 fours and a six off veteran spinner Rangana Herath during his stay, which has lasted 203 balls so far.
The 26-year-old posted his fifth Test century and his first in more than three years off just 96 balls, with back-to-back fours off left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan.
He then hit Herath for his only six to reach 160 and bring up his 2,000 Test runs in his 47th innings.
Mominul was the fastest Bangladeshi to achieve the feat, overtaking Tamim’s record of 53 innings, while his ton was the second fastest for Bangladesh after Tamim’s 94-ball century against England at Lord’s in 2010. Sri Lankan batting coach Thilan Samaraweera was full of praise for Mominul, who is nicknamed Mini.
“We should have bowled better than that. It is 40 runs too many for our part...” he said.
BANGLADESH (1st Innings):
Tamim Iqbal b Perera 52
Imrul Kayes lbw b Sandakan 40
Mominul Haque not out 175
Mushfiqur Rahim c Dickwella b Lakmal 92
Liton Das b Lakmal 0
Mahmudullah not out 9
EXTRAS (W-2, NB-4) 6
TOTAL (for four wkts, 90 overs) 374
FALL OF WKTS: 1-72, 2-120, 3-356, 4-356.
TO BAT: Mosaddek Hossain, Mehedi Hasan, Taijul Islam, Sunzamul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman.
BOWLING (to-date): Lakmal 17-3-43-2 (2nb); Kumara 12-1-64-0 (1w); Perera 24-4-98-1 (2nb); Herath 20-1-100-0; Sandakan 13-1-58-1 (1w); Dananjaya 4-0-11-0.
SRI LANKA: F.D.M. Karunaratne, D.M. de Silva, B.K.G. Mendis, L.D. Chandimal, N. Dickwella, A.R.S. Silva, M.K.D. Perera, H.M.R.K.B. Herath, R.A.S. Lakmal, P.A.D.L.R. Sandakan, C.B.R.S.L. Kumara.
UMPIRES: M. Erasmus (South Africa) and R.J. Tucker (Australia).
TV UMPIRE: J.S. Wilson (West Indies).
MATCH REFEREE: D.C. Boon (Australia).