The race for 5000 heats up

Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal started the series 68 and 152 runs away respectively from becoming the first Bangladeshi cricketer to accumulate 5000 runs in Test cricket. Tamim was a fair bit away from Mushfiq, but the left-hander made up for the deficit by bringing up his maiden Test century against Sri Lanka on the third day.

The opener looked set to make the record his own before dehydration and muscle strain forced him to leave the field after the second session with the milestone just 19 runs away from his grasp.

Tamim is likely to resume his knock on Day 4 and has a very good chance to reach the 5000-run in this innings. But by the time he gets to restart his innings, the record could very well be already made by Mushfiq.

Mushfiq played an assured innings on the day to make sure the innings doesn’t lose its way after the fall of two quick wickets. He remained unbeaten on 53 at stumps, which took his run tally in the format to 4985.

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Mushfiq needs just 15 more runs to enter the 5000 Test runs club. But if Bangladesh lose an early wicket on Day 4, Tamim will have the chance to beat him to the milestone. From the team’s perspective, it doesn’t matter who gets to the milestone first as long as both score big runs and help Bangladesh take a commanding first innings lead.

Mushfiq ends Ashraful’s reign

Whether or not Mushfiqur Rahim becomes the first Bangladeshi to score 5000 Test runs is still uncertain. But on Tuesday the wicketkeeper-batsman a record that has been in place for almost 21 years, without anyone really noticing it.

Mohammad Ashraful, the country’s first cricketing superstar, played in the first ever Test match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka back in September 2001. It was also his debut Test, where he became the youngest Test centurion in the history of the game.

Since then, Ashraful has always been the highest run-getter for Bangladesh in Tests against the island nation. Although the right-hander hasn’t played a Test against Sri Lanka since 2013, he remained at the top with 1090 runs in 13 Tests.

But on Tuesday, his reign at the top finally ended as Mushfiqur Rahim overtook him as Bangladesh’s most successful Test batsman against Sri Lanka. Mushfiq now has 1096 runs against the Lankan Lions in 16 Tests.

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Ashraful, however, still holds the record of scoring the most number of centuries against Sri Lanka in Tests among Bangladeshi batsman with five hundreds. Mominul Haque is breathing down his neck with four centuries.

The Chattogram boys enjoy homecoming

Local boy Nayeem Hasan had already marked the Chattogram Test with his career best figures on Day 2, now his senior partner and Chattogram’s most prominent cricketer Tamim Iqbal also gave his fans in the port city an occasion to rejoice by bringing up his 10th Test century on Tuesday.

Nayeem, on his comeback Test, claimed six wickets with his off-spin on a pitch that had very little on offer. His six-wicket haul helped Bangladesh bundle out Sri Lanka for 397.

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After one Chittagonian shined in the match, it was time for the other to step up. Tamim controlled the Bangladesh innings all the way till he retired hurt due to cramps. He played a splendid innings, adorned with 15 boundaries struck all across the ground. His opening partnership with Mahmudul Hasan Joy gave Bangladesh the ideal start and set the innings up for the rest of the batters.

Vishwa’s concussion makes way for Rajitha

Sri Lankan pacer Kasun Rajitha is the most successful bowler in the Chattogram Test so far. He claimed two wickets in the post-Lunch session and helped the tourists claw their way back into the match.

But before the second session of Day 3, Rajitha wasn’t a part of the match. He wasn’t initially picked in the playing XI. Fellow pacer Vishwa Fernando’s misfortune opened the doors for Rajitha as he played his first Test for Sri Lanka since 2020.

Vishwa was struck on the head while batting on Day 2 courtesy of a bouncer from Shoriful Islam. Vishwa left the field retired hurt before returning to the middle to finish his innings. He also bowled eight overs and fielded till the morning session on Day 3, before finally leaving the field due to a concussion.

Rajitha was brought on as his like for like substitute and the pacer gave the tourists their only positive spell on the day before Mushfiq and Liton gave the control back to the hosts.

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