Bangladesh put themselves in a strong position in the opening Test against New Zealand after skipper Najmul Shanto struck a well-crafted century on the third day at Sylhet. Shanto remained unbeaten on 104 and was involved in an unbroken stand of 96 with Mushfiqur Rahim as the hosts went into stumps with a lead of 205.
New Zealand started off well after managing to erase the deficit even though Bangladesh were favourites to fetch the first-innings lead when play began. The visitors were trailing by 44 runs with only the tail left to bat but Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee kept the home side at bay in the first hour before Jamieson was trapped lbw. New Zealand then managed to eke out a 7-run lead before Southee departed to give Mominul Haque his third wicket.
While Bangladesh batted out a tricky 10-over period before the lunch break, New Zealand struck immediately in the second session. Ajaz Patel got one to turn in sharply and Zakir Hasan failed to connect while attempting a nudge. As a result, the batter was trapped plumb in front to give New Zealand the first breakthrough. And then came a cruel blow in the next over as Shanto drove one straight off Southee, who got a touch before the ball hit the stumps with the non-striker Mahmudul Hasan caught short of his crease.
At 26/2, the home side needed a partnership to steady the ship. They got exactly that with Shanto and Mominul adding 90 for the third wicket. Mominul, who took time to get going, hit three boundaries in the space of five deliveries as the duo counterattacked before a drinks break. The two batters guided Bangladesh to a good position before the Tea break but the visitors struck again immediately after resumption.
This time, it was a run out again as Shanto was caught ball watching, leaving Mominul stranded. Despite the unfortunate dismissal, Bangladesh took control of the game with Shanto remaining firm at one end. Rahim, who didn’t open his account for ten deliveries, broke free against Ajaz with two boundaries in the span of three deliveries and raced to 19 off just 28 at one point.
Glenn Phillips, who had a fruitful outing with the ball in the first innings, couldn’t recreate the magic this time around as Shanto picked him apart for three boundaries in two overs. New Zealand just couldn’t create any chances before the close of play as Shanto kept going before bringing up a brilliant ton that has now firmly put Bangladesh in the driver’s seat.
Bangladesh 310 & 212/3 (Najmul Shanto 104*, Mushfiqur Rahim 43*) lead New Zealand 317 (Kane Williamson 104, Glenn Phillips 42; Taijul Islam 4/109) by 205 runs
Agriculture and tourism key sectors for the nation’s swift recovery- President
Addressing the 37th session of the Asia and Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Colombo today (20), President Ranil Wickremesinghe affirmed the government’s dedication to elevating Sri Lanka as a prominent exporter of agricultural produce through rapid agricultural sector transformation. He emphasized the pivotal role agriculture played in navigating Sri Lanka through the previous economic crisis and highlighted agriculture and tourism as key sectors for the nation’s swift recovery.
The conference, which commenced on the 19th of February in Colombo with the participation of diplomats and representatives from 34 countries including the United States, China, and Russia, will conclude tomorrow (21). Sri Lanka’s chairmanship of the Asia-Pacific region of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization will extend from now until 2026.
This year’s conference, themed “Transformation of the Agro-Food System,” will delve into key areas such as promoting nutritious food production, ensuring food security, enhancing food production, safeguarding the environment, curbing greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigating climate change risks.
Sri Lanka hosted the 2nd Asia and Pacific Regional Conference in 1955.
2024 Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Day to be held on 10th March
The Cabinet of Ministers was informed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs that actions were being taken to hold the 2024 Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Day at the Gall Face, grounds on 10th March with the participation of Diplomatic missions of member countries, partner states and a large number of school students from all provinces of the island.
The theme for 2024 IORA Day is “A Sustainable Indian Ocean for Future Generation”
Mathews, Hasaranga all-round show helps Sri Lanka seal series
Angelo Mathews and Wanindu Hasaranga’s brilliant all-round show, well complimented by a steady half-century from Sadeera Samarawickrama, helped Sri Lanka prolong Afghanistan’s winless streak on in the ongoing multi-format tour and seal the T20I series 2-0 with a game to go. Sri Lanka posted a commanding 187/6 riding on the back of Samarawickrama’s fifty and cameos from the two all-rounders. However, Mathews opened the bowling as well after his unbeaten knock and triggered a top-order collapse that the visitors failed to recover from, eventually collapsing to 115 all out in reply.
Put in to bat first, the Sri Lankan openers got their team off to a flying start with a quickfire 45-run stand in under four overs. The pair launched a flurry of boundaries – they hit nine between them – as the hosts quickly raced away before Azmatulllah got the much needed breakthrough for Afghanistan by trapping Pathum Nissanka LBW. Kusal Mendis fell three balls later, as Afghanistan dented their progress.
Losing both set openers, and then Dhananjaya da Silva, in quick succession set was a setback Sri Lanka needed to quickly recover from and Samarawickrama came to the rescue with a steady half-century and caemos around it gave Sri Lanka firm control of proceedings. First, it was Wanindu Hasaranga who smacked a couple of sixes in his 9-ball stay for 22. And later it was Mathews who hammered four maximums and two more boundaries, chipping in an invaluable 42* in just 22 balls. His knock, that helped Sri Lanka plunder 49 runs in just the last three overs, proved the turning point as the hosts finished with a daunting 187 on the board.
Fresh off his batting heroics, Mathews picked up the new ball and delivered in the very first over by having Hazratullah Zazai caught behind. He accounted for the Afghanistan skipper, Ibrahim Zadran, as well in his following over, finishing his brief powerplay spell with impressive figures of 2-9 as Afghanistan slipped to 19/2. To make matters worse, Binura Fernando struck twice in the fifth over to make it 31/5 and Afghanistan were eventually at the point of no return.
The 39-run stand that ensued between Mohammad Nabi (27) and Karim Janat (28) was probably the only thing to write home about in all of Afghanistan’s chase. Nabi in particular was aggressive during his 17-ball 27, hitting a couple of sixes, but the target in front of them was too tall a mountain to climb. Hasaranga and Pathirana wrapped up the tail fairly quickly once the stubborn sixth-wicket stand was broken by Dasun Shanaka and Afghanistan fell a staggering 72 runs short.
Sri Lanka 187/6 in 20 overs (Pathum Nissanka 25, Kusal Mendis 23, Sadeera Samarawickrama 51, Wanidu Hasaranga 22, Angelo Mathews 42*; Fazalhaq Farooki 1-31, Azmatullah Omarzai 2-40, Naveen-ul-Haq 1-46, Mohammed Nabi 2-25) beat Afghanistan 115 all out in 17 overs (Karim Janat 28, Mohammad Nabi 27; Angelo Mathews 2-9, Binura Fernando 2-18, Maheesh Theekshana 1-30, Wanindu Hasaranga 2-19, Matheesha Pathirana 2-22, Dasun Shanaka 1-17 ) by 72 runs
Fair weather will prevail except for evening showers in Kalutara, Galle, Matara and Rathnapura districts
SC: Anti-Terrorism Bill needs approval at referendum and 2/3 majority to become law
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