Shanto’s maiden ton put Bangladesh on top

Publish: 8:29 PM, April 21, 2021 | Update: 8:29:PM, April 21, 2021

DHAKA, —Nazmul Hossain Shanto struck his maiden ton as Bangladesh kept them aloft over Sri Lanka on the opening day of the first cricket Test at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

Bangladesh ended the day one on 302-2 with Shanto batting on 126 alongside captain Mominul Haque, who was on 64.

The duo shared 150 runs for an undefeated third wicket stand to establish Bangladesh’s full dominance over the hosts after opener Tamim Iqbal laid the foundation with a stroke-filled 90.

Shanto so far smote 14 boundaries and one six in his knock for which he played 288 balls. Mominul 64 off 150 was laced with six boundaries so far.

Shanto’s first century came at a moment when the impatient fans demanded his axe from the side following his poor run of form in all formats of cricket. Before the century, Shanto had just one half-century in 11 innings of six Test matches.

Through this century, Shanto paid off the faith the selectors kept on him as the team management had already declared him as the future prospect of Bangladesh team.

The Tigers however made a disastrous start after Mominul Haque opted to bat first as opener Saif Hasan was dismissed on naught in the second over of the day.

The umpires though judged it not out, Sri Lanka bowler Vishwa Fernando reviewed the decision that eventually came in his favour.

Tamim Iqbal and No. 3 batsman Nazmul Hossain Shanto were key in helping Bangladesh to spend two good sessions then.

Tamim Iqbal though missed his well-deserved ton by being out on 90, his rapid start helped Bangladesh to hit back after the dismissal of fellow opener Saif Hassan.

Tamim kept the runs flowing with his stroke-filled batting and got support in Nazmul Hossain Shanto, who showed his utter stubbornness in the crease.

They eventually shared 144-run for the second wicket stand and it was broken only when Vishwa Fernando undid Tamim Iqbal with a delivery that carried extra bounce. Tamim struck 15 boundaries in his 90 off 101.

Shanto survived on 28 when the Sri Lanka keeper failed to hold on a catch when he edged Dananjaya de Silva.

Apart from this, his innings was entirely chanceless. He played as the second fiddle to Tamim initially but after the dismissal of senior mate, he came out from the shell to take the onus.

He brought up his fifty off 120 balls with a cut past point for boundary off Fernando delivery.

The half-century appeared to give him more confidence as he started dominating the bowlers on a placid deck.

Skipper Mominul Haque, who had no century on foreign soil, despite being Bangladesh’s highest century-maker in Test cricket with 10 centuries, brought up his half-century off 117 balls, pushing one to long-on for a single.

He then kept his hopes alive for his maiden ton in foreign soil.

But while he kept his hope alive, Shanto completed his century off 235 balls and that he brought up in gorgeous fashion, with a glorious drive through cover for boundary.

The duo then took care of the new ball, which was available after 80 overs, to keep Bangladesh thoroughly on top with Shanto dominating new ball specialist Suranga Lakmal, hitting him boundaries twice in consecutive deliveries.

Fernando took all the fallen two wickets so far in his 17 overs in which he gave away 61 runs.