Dinesh Chandimal anchored Sri Lanka’s innings to help them reach 238/7 after Bangladesh started off their 100th Test by reducing the hosts to 35/3. The visiting spinners were exceptional in a near-perfect day for Bangladesh but Chandimal ensured that Sri Lanka stayed afloat with a fighting half-century.
Mustafizur Rehman had Karunaratne early in the day before Mehedi Hasan once again broke the spine of the top order with two quick wickets. Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva then attempted to rebuild the Lankan innings, however, that did not last long as Taijul Islam broke through the latter's defence.
Dickwella ensured that Chandimal was not stranded at the wicket with a risk-filled 34 but Shakib-al-Hasan was too good for him in the end. Herath, though, gave Chandimal some much-needed company as the skipper put a price on his wicket and remained unbeaten on 18 off 63 balls at stumps on day 1.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 238/7 (Chandimal 86*, Dickwella 34, Mustafizur 2/32).
Here are the talking points from the day's play at Colombo.
#5 Mustafizur piles on Karunaratne's agony
Mustafizur Rehman started off on a disciplined note and reaped the rewards when he produced an excellent delivery that seamed away to catch the Lankan opener's edge on its way to the slips.
Karunaratne was on the verge of being dropped before this Test with a capable replacement in Dhananjaya de Silva waiting on the sidelines. He did his cause further harm though as his feet were stationary while he attempted to push at a ball seaming away, a technique not becoming of an opener in Test cricket.
Sri Lanka had played out a difficult eight-over period where the ball seamed around, but all the hard work was undone when Karunaratne played a loose shot outside his off-stump.
#4 Mehedi Hasan shows his class in the morning session
Bangladesh seemed to be basking in the glory of their 100th Test as young off-spinner, Mehedi Hasan, got rid of Kusal Mendis soon after Mustafizur had sent back Karunaratne.
Mendis, who was the Man of the Match in the first Test for his brilliant 194, was undone by some thoughtful bowling by the Bangladesh spinner. Seeing Mendis step out to meet the ball, Mehedi got the ball to dip in front of him and beat his bat. Mushfiqur Rahim did the rest behind the stumps as Sri Lanka were reduced to 24/2.
Mehedi was the pick of the Bangladesh bowlers in Galle as well, and he is quickly turning into the most reliable spinner in the side. His wily off-break accounted for Upul Tharanga two overs later as the southpaw only managed to edge a well flighted, turning ball to slip.
#3 The rebuilding that did not quite happen
The Bangladesh bowlers seemed to be on a mission early on day 1 of the second Test as they had Lanka at 35/3. Dinesh Chandimal then combined with Asela Gunaratne in a watchful stand.
Gunaratne, however, fell to Subashis Roy at the stroke of lunch to reduce Lanka to 70/4. Dhananjaya de Silva, in for seamer Lahiru Kumara, appeared more comfortable at the crease and along with Chandimal, built a steady partnership.
The duo took Sri Lanka to a better position and seemed set to launch a fightback when Taijul Islam produced a slider that skidded under de Silva's bat to clean up his stumps. The partnership that had promised so much ended on 66.
#2 Bangladesh spinners shine
On a pitch that offered seam movement initially, it was not the seamers but the Bangladesh spinners who troubled the Lankan batsmen with flight, turn and dip. All of them were tight and gave little away in their long spells on a good day of cricket for the tourists.
Mehedi Hasan started the slide when he had Kusal Mendis stumped and then had Upul Tharanga caught at slip off a sharp off-break. Just when Sri Lanka were rebuilding, Taijul Islam broke through by cleaning up Dhananjaya de Silva.
Shakib-al-Hasan then had Nirosha Dickwella to break another important partnership, halting Sri Lanka's progress. The trio was tidy throughout the day and helped Bangladesh gain an upper hand at stumps on day 1.
#1 Dinesh Chandimal plays the anchor role
A long, steady innings was something Sri Lanka were expecting from Dinesh Chandimal, their senior middle-order batsman in the Test squad. Chandimal had been promising much without delivering the goods thus far but he came good at Colombo.
Chandimal kept losing partners right through the day but he was calm and composed against the spinners and kept out the off-cutters from Mustafizur Rehman with ease. It was clear that the batsman was focused on surviving rather than scoring quickly and it served well for the hosts in the end with him remaining unbeaten on 86 off 210 balls.
Much of Sri Lanka's hopes of getting to a 350+ score on day 2 will depend on whether Chandimal can continue his marathon knock.