Ashraful leads Bangladesh resistance

Ashraful hit an unbeaten half century for his team to need another 267 runs to beat Sri Lanka on the final day of the 1st Test with six wickets in hand.

updated: December 31, 2008 14:41 IST
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Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful hit an unbeaten half century on Tuesday for his team to need another 267 runs to beat Sri Lanka on the final day of the first Test with six wickets in hand.

Muttiah Muralitharan claimed three wickets before an unbeaten 74-run sixth-wicket stand between Ashraful (70) and Shakib Al Hasan (34) boosted Bangladesh to 254-5 by stumps on the fourth day. The hosts had been floundering at 150-4 at tea.

Ashraful's eighth Test fifty contained 11 fours in 153 balls, and also ushered him into the 2000-run club in his 47th match.

Ashraful had become the youngest Test hundred-maker after hitting a ton against Sri Lanka in Colombo on his international debut in 2001 at age 17.

Earlier, Sri Lanka declared its second innings before lunch at 405-6, anchored by captain Mahela Jayawardene's 166.

Bangladesh's run chase started badly when opener Imrul Kayes was run out for 13.

Tamim Iqbal and Junaid Siddique took the score to 72 in the second session before Iqbal was caught by Jayawardene off Dammika Prasad for 47.

Siddique and Raqibul Hasan's third-wicket stand brought 52 runs until Siddique (37) was also caught by Jayawardene, this time off Muralitharan.

Muralitharan claimed his second wicket when he bowled Hasan for 24. He also dismissed Mehrab Hossain for 23 after tea.

Muralitharan finished the day with figures of 3-85 off 28 overs.

Resuming on 291-4 after a break day Monday for the Bangladesh election, Jayawardene added 37 to his overnight score of 129 before Siddique caught him off Mehrab Hossain. Jayawardene's 24th Test century came off 269 balls with 19 boundaries and one six.

Tillakaratne Dilshan hit 47 before he was caught behind by Mushfiqur Rahim off Shakib Al Hasan, while Prasanna Jayawardene (3) and Chaminda Vaas (15) were unbeaten when Sri Lanka declared its innings.

Mashrafe bin Mortaza and Mehrab Hossain took two wickets apiece, while Mahbubul Alam and Shakib Al Hasan got one each.