GALLE: Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal cracked maiden Test centuries to put Sri Lanka in command on the second day of the opening Test against Bangladesh in Galle on Saturday.
Left-handed Thirimanne hit a solid 155 not out and Chandimal an unbeaten 116 as the hosts declared their first innings closed at 570-4 after adding 209 to their overnight total of 361-3 for the loss of just one wicket.
Bangladesh were 135-2 in their first innings at stumps, with Mohammad Ashraful unbeaten on 65 and debutant Mominul Haque 35 not out.
Paceman Shaminda Eranga struck first when he had opener Jahurul Islam (20) caught behind and then unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis bowled debutant Anamul Haque (13) in his first over to put pressure on Bangladesh.
Ashraful then steadied the innings as he added 70 for the unfinished third-wicket stand with Mominul. He has so far hit seven fours in his 108-ball knock.
Thirimanne, playing his ninth Test, hit 14 fours in his 256-ball knock while Chandimal, in his sixth Test, smashed two sixes and 12 fours in a 151-ball innings. The pair dominated the Bangladeshi attack for more than a session.
“It was a great day for me. This is a dream start for a young cricketer like me,” said Thirimanne, 23.
“It was a great opportunity for me to bat with Chandimal. We have batted together at under-19 level also. He played his normal game and was a bit more aggressive.”
Bangladesh failed to make the most of the chances that came their way in the morning as they twice let off Chandimal early in his innings. The Sri Lankan went on to add 203 with Thirimanne.
“We have eight wickets in hand and I think if we can bat throughout the day tomorrow, the game will be in balance,” said Bangladesh's Anamul Haque.
Thirimanne, 74 overnight, completed his hundred in the morning when he lofted left-arm spinner Elias Sunny over mid-on for two runs while Chandimal reached his century in the afternoon with three runs off spinner Mominul.
Chandimal went for big shots after scoring a 91-ball fifty as he took 45 more deliveries to complete his century, hitting a six each off spinners Mohammad Mahmudullah and Sohag Gazi.
Off-spinner Gazi finished with 3-164 off 50 overs, taking all of his wickets on Friday. Seamer Abul Hasan was the other wicket-taker, finishing with 1-112 off 27 overs.
Hasan, playing his second match, got a maiden Test wicket when he held a return catch to remove Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews early in the morning.
Mathews, who could add just two runs to his overnight score of 25, put on 62 for the fourth wicket with Thirimanne.