CHITTAGONG: Mominul Haque became the first player from Bangladesh to score a century in both innings of a Test as he steered his side to a draw in the opening match against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Mominul, who made 176 in the first innings, hit 105 off 174 balls to help Bangladesh reach 307-5 before the teams accepted the draw with an hour’s play left on the fifth and final day in Chittagong.
Skipper Mahmudullah was at the crease on 28 not out alongside Mosaddek Hossain (8 not out) when the stumps were drawn at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
Sri Lanka held a 200-run first innings lead after declaring on a mammoth 713-9 in reply to Bangladesh’s 513.
“I would put my second century ahead of the first one because it helped us save the game,” Mominul said.
“We have been in this situation before. You have to be mentally strong and believe in yourself.”
The visitors fancied their chances for a victory when veteran spinner Rangana Herath picked up the crucial wicket of Mushfiqur Rahim off the last ball on the fourth day.
But Mominul, 18 not out overnight, and Liton Das, who fell just six runs short of his maiden Test century, shared a crucial 180-run stand for the fourth wicket to frustrate the Sri Lankan bowlers.
It was Dhananjaya de Silva who broke their partnership, dismissing Mominul shortly after the left-hander scored his second century of the game with a single off Lakshan Sandakan.
Dimuth Karunaratne took the catch at slip to bring the curtains down on a fine innings, featuring five fours and two sixes.
Karunaratne, who was out for a duck in Sri Lanka’s first innings, criticised the batsman-friendly pitch.
“I don’t think this is a good wicket for Test cricket because already 1,500 runs have been scored,” he said.
“I think there needs to be something for the bowlers as well. I am hopeful we will get a 50-50 wicket in the next Test.”
Man of the match Mominul had nicked a delivery from Herath on 89 but wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella failed to grab a low catch.
Liton also looked confident on the other side but his lavish attempt for a six to complete his century brought his downfall.
Dilruwan Perera ran backward from mid-off to take a fine catch off Herath as Liton departed after hitting 11 fours during his 182-ball stay.
A short ball from Lahiru Kumara struck Mominul on the helmet but he appeared unfazed and scored a single off the next ball, becoming the highest run scorer for Bangladesh in a single Test.
Mominul, who reached 56 with the single, overtook Tamim Iqbal’s aggregate of 231 runs against Pakistan in Khulna in 2015.
Herath finished with 2-80 for Sri Lanka.
The second and final Test will start in Dhaka on February 8.