Chittagong: Opener Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva hit career-best centuries as Sri Lanka reached parity with Bangladesh by posting 504-3 on Friday on day three of the first Test.
Mendis scored 196 and de Silva 173 as Sri Lanka ended the day just nine runs behind the hosts.
They combined for 308 for the second wicket.
“We are not thinking about the lead. We want to bat as long as possible,” Sri Lanka batting coach Thilan Samaraweera said. “We want to firstly bat till lunch on the fourth day, and then see what happens.”
“After Bangladesh made 513 runs, we told the team that we should keep batting. Those two players set the tone.
“I think he (Mendis) is disappointed. The bigger picture is that if he had scored those two double-hundreds, it would have been very special for a 23-year-old. We want to give him every opportunity. We believe he has a lot of ability, which is why we put him in the opening position.”
At stumps, Roshen Silva was 87 not out and nearing his first century, and captain Dinesh Chandimal was with him on 37.
Resuming the day on 187-1, Mendis and de Silva kept Bangladesh at bay throughout the morning session.
“Partnership bowling is important in test matches, so we didn’t do it that well,” Bangladesh technical director Khaled Mahmud said.
“We couldn’t really attack and defend from both ends. The wicket is good for batting but I thought we could have bowled better.”
Pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman broke through in the post-lunch session with the new ball, bagging de Silva, who tried a pull into the leg side but edged it behind.
De Silva’s fourth century in his 12th test was entertaining at a strike rate of more than 75. His 173 came off 229 balls, with 21 fours and one six. He was out at 308-2.
Mendis then shared a 107-run partnership with Roshen Silva. Mendis was four runs from his maiden double century an over before tea when he charged at left-arm spinner Taijul Islam and was caught close to midwicket by Mushfiqur Rahim.
Mendis survived chances on 4, 57, and 83. He hit 22 fours and two sixes in his 196 off 327.
With some turn and bounce on offer on the pitch, Bangladesh sensed an opportunity to peg back Sri Lanka’s innings at 415-3 but Roshen Silva and Chandimal batted sensibly.
Bangladesh 1st innings
Total (129.5 overs) 513 all out
Sri Lanka 1st innings
Dimuth Karunaratne c Imrul Kayes b Mehedi Hasan 0
Kusal Mendis c Mushfiqur Rahim b Taijul Islam 196
Dhananjaya de Silva c Liton Das b Mustafizur Rahman 173
Roshen Silva Not Out 87
Dinesh Chandimal Not Out 37
Extras 7b 3lb 1w 11
Total (138.0 overs) 504-3
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-308, 3-415 Mendis
Bowling Rahman 25-5-88-1, Islam 37-2-128-0, Hasan 19-0-97-1, T Islam 51-13-144-1, Hossain 3-0-24-0, Haque 2-0-6-0, Mahmudullah 1-0-7-0