Shakib-al-Hasan slammed his fifth Test hundred and received able support from Mushfiqur Rahim and Mossadek Hossain, both of whom hit half-centuries as Bangladesh gained a 129 run lead on day 3. Sri Lanka needed their openers to play out the day without damage, which they did, but Bangladesh hold all the aces going into day 4 of their historic 100th Test.
Earlier, Rahim and Shakib put on a 92-run partnership that took Bangladesh close to Lanka's total. Once Rahim was dismissed, debutant Mosaddek played a gem of an innings as Shakib appeared focussed. The all-rounder raced to a hundred and took Bangladesh past the 100 run lead when Herath returned to scalp four and end the innings and in the process complete 1000 first-class wickets.
Bangladesh were luckless with the ball though as Tharanga and, Karunaratne, possibly playing for his career, withstood some decent bowling to take Lanka to 54/0 at stumps.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 338/10. Bangladesh 467/10 (Shakib 116, Mossadek 75, Herath 4/82, Sandakan 4/140). Sri Lanka 54/0 (Tharanga 25*, Karunaratne 25*).
Take a glance at the talking points from the day's play at Colombo.
#5 Rahim-Shakib string together 92-run stand
Bangladesh were on the back foot as they lost three wickets in seven balls late on day 2. But Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib-al-Hasan helped the visitors recover from that with a 92 run stand for the sixth wicket.
It took Bangladesh close to Sri Lanka's total, ending the chances of a quick collapse on day 3. Shakib and Rahim were watchful but did not let any loose ball go unpunished. They latched onto anything short and wide and kept the scoreboard ticking.
Rahim finally gave in to Lakmal's inswinger that found its way between his bat and pad to hit the stumps. But the partnership gave Bangladesh some much-needed impetus after a disappointing end yesterday.
#4 Mossadek Hossain revels on debut
Bangladesh had created headlines when they decided to drop experienced batsman, Mahmudullah, for their iconic 100th Test match. The replacement, Mosaddek Hossain had huge shoes to fill and he did that with aplomb in his debut Test innings.
Hossain, who has already figured for the Tigers in the limited-over formats, took no time in adjusting to the demands of Test cricket. After playing the waiting game for the first few balls, he stepped out and slammed Herath over his head for six.
He hit Lakmal for back-to-back boundaries before creaming Herath through the covers. The batsman seemed in total control of his game in a riveting stand with Shakib-al-Hasan that took Bangladesh into the lead.
#3 Shakib adds salt to Lanka's wounds
Shakib-al-Hasan was at his best on day 3 as he smothered the Sri Lankan bowlers to notch up a fifth Test hundred. The all-rounder was a picture of confidence as he stepped up with Mushfiqur Rahim to lift Bangladesh from yesterday's collapse.
The southpaw showed positive intent and swept Sandakan out of the attack. For most of his time at the wicket, he let Rahim and Mossadek dominate proceedings and played a senior partner's role. But whenever the opportunity arose, Shakib was quick to latch onto it.
He put on two vital partnerships on day 3. The first one a decisive 92 with Rahim that helped Bangladesh come close to Sri Lanka's score and the second, a terrific 131 run partnership with debutant, Mossadek Hossain, pushed Bangladesh's lead near 100. Shakib was eventually dismissed by Sandakan for 116.
#2 Herath takes 1000 First-class wickets
The veteran Sri Lankan skipper completed a rare feat when he picked up his 1000th First-class wicket by dismissing Mustafizur Rehman for a golden duck.
Herath had been largely ineffective on a flat track against some smart batting by Shakib, Rahim and Mossadek Hossain. However, once an opening was created, Herath proceeded to remove Mehedi Hasan and Mustafizur Rehman off consecutive balls.
Both the batsmen were trapped in front by some thoughtful bowling from the Lankan skipper. Mehedi had been a nuisance with the bat for Lanka and looked set for another long stay at the crease when Herath produced a peach to get his 999th First-class wicket.
#1 Sri Lankan openers survive final few overs
Bangladesh had an opportunity to sieze the initiative with a couple of late wickets. But Dimuth Karunaratne and Upul Tharanga ensured that the hosts did not lose their grip on proceedings with a crucial half-century stand in the final session.
Bangladesh had done the hard work right through the day by posting 467 on the board, earning a 129 run lead. But a few quick wickets before stumps would have been welcome for the visitors. Tharanga and Karunaratne, though, were determined to not let that happen as they combined in an unbeaten 54-run stand.
The innings is crucial for Karunaratne, who is in dire need of a big hundred to retain his position in the side. If he can continue the hard work tomorrow, it will do him and his team a world of good.