Kusal Mendis Revives Sri Lanka's Innings

In yet another slow session of play, Kusal Mendis aced the test of patience that his senior partner Dinesh Chandimal couldn't. Sri Lanka reached Tea at 155 for 3, adding 94 runs post Lunch against Bangladesh at the Galle International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday (March 7).

Resuming the innings on 61 for 2, the challenge was always going to be about resisting the temptation of playing false strokes. Sri Lankan batsmen did well to keep a check on rash shots, but the only time they fell into the trap, the opposition was rewarded with a wicket.

With a disciplined line of attack by the Bangladesh bowlers, loose deliveries were far and few. However, when they did come, Mendis, who was caught off a no ball off his first delivery, took complete advantage to dispatch it to the fence.

Chandimal, however, drew into a shell and allowed the tourists to get away even with poor deliveries. 52 balls later, when he had only five runs to his credit, he eventually ran out of patience and played a false stroke, chasing Mustafizur Rahman's wide delivery outside the offstump to give a catch to Mehedi Hasan.

Mendis's approach was worthy of lessons on playing on a slow wicket. Not only did he cut down on risky shots while keeping the scoreboard moving, his batting eventually forced the bowlers to err in their length and provide more loose balls that they wouldn't have and that they shouldn't have.

Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka's stand-in skipper Rangana Herath won the toss and elected to bat. Bangladesh came in with three changes to their side, with Sabbir Rahman, Taijul Islam and Islam Rabbi making way for Liton Das, Mustafizur Rahman and Subasis Roy.

Sri Lanka too came in with a change in their opening combination, with Upal Tharanga taking over the old role of opening alongside Dimuth Karunaratne, the left-hander Sri Lankan selectors have persisted with over the last two years despite inconsistent performances.

Even as they began positively, the move didn't quite work out the way they would've liked with Roy uprooting Tharanga's stumps in the sixth over with a delivery that came back in after pitching. Karunaratne and Silva went along well with a 45-run stand for the second wicket, before the former inside-edged a cut off Mehedi Hasan, five minutes before Lunch.

However, Mendis continued his charge in company of Chandimal and Asela Gunaratne, to construct a fine half century. He remained unbeaten on 80 at Tea in company of Gunaratne, who quickly moved to 26.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 155/3 (Kusal Mendis 80; Mehedi Hasan 1-26) vs Bangladesh.


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