Tue, 11 May 2021

Tamim Iqbal's rapid fifty drives Bangladesh

21 Apr 2021, 17:53 GMT+10

Bangladesh 106 for 1 (Iqbal 65*) vs Sri Lanka

Tamim Iqbal inflicted the first blow of the series on Sri Lanka with his unbeaten 65 in the first session of the first Test in Pallekele. Bangladesh went to lunch on 106 for 1, with Najmul Hossain Shanto also unbeaten on 37.

Iqbal struck 12 fours in his 72-ball innings, having reached his fifty off 53 balls, as he dominated an eager pace attack on a greenish pitch. There were plenty of boundary-balls as the visitors, who opted to bat first after picking a bold playing XI with five bowlers, took control of the morning session.

The home side had also started off promisingly enough. Bangladesh lost Saif Hassan very early on, trapped lbw by Vishwa Fernando in the second over. Fernando pitched on a good length with a slight nip back into Saif who looked to have fallen over trying to cover the ball. After umpire Kumar Dharmasena denied the appeal, it was wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella who insisted on the review, and it came in Sri Lanka's favour. Saif got out for his second duck in three Tests.

But this was a slight hiccup while Iqbal, who had struck two fours in the first over of the match itself, kept finding the boundaries. Before Shanto could open his account, Iqbal had already struck six fours.

Shanto got off the mark in the seventh over with a drive through extra cover, while Iqbal struck Lahiru Kumara for three fours in the space of four deliveries in his second over. After a scrumptious straight drive, Kumara bounced Iqbal but the ball took the top edge as the batsman tried to duck under the ball. The ball went for a one-bounce four over the wicketkeeper. Next ball, Iqbal pasted Kumara through point, among his top three shots in the morning.

The other two came in the 22nd over against Fernando when he cut him through point even though the bowler had packed that area. One ball later, Iqbal scorched a full delivery straight past the bowler for his 12th boundary.

Sri Lanka had their chance shortly afterwards when Shanto, batting on 28, edged Dhananjay de Silva but wicketkeeper Dickwella missed the straightforward chance by getting up too early. That was the signal for the batsmen to slow down, and bat out the remaining 4.4 overs as they finished the session without any more damage.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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