GALLE Bangladesh amassed their highest total and captain Mushfiqur Rahim chalked up their first test double century on the fourth day of the opening game against Sri Lanka on Monday.
Resuming on 438 for four, Bangladesh went on to make 638 all out by tea, a first-innings lead of 68. Sri Lanka then reached the close on 116 for one with Tillakaratne Dilshan unbeaten on 63 on a lifeless pitch where bat has dominated ball from the start.
It was the second half-century of the match for Dilshan who was accompanied back to the pavilion by Kumar Sangakkara (49 not out).
The only wicket to fall was that of opener Dimuth Karunaratne for three after he top-edged a hook off Shahadat Hossain to Abul Hasan at fine leg. With one day left, the game seems destined to end in a tame draw.
Mushfiqur, on 198 at lunch, picked up two singles after the resumption and celebrated his double hundred by punching the air and kissing the turf.
The diminutive batsman was immediately out for 200, trapped lbw by Nuwan Kulasekera off the next delivery.
Mushfiqur's gritty 321-ball knock lasted 438 minutes and included 22 fours and a six.
"It was one of my dreams to score a test double hundred," the 24-year-old told reporters. "I thought that if I got the chance to bat for a long time and if I got a partner at the other end, I would like to score big.
"Fortunately Ash (Mohammad Ashraful) and Nasir (Hossain) batted really well so I had partners. We were saying beforehand that if someone gets set they must carry on and get a big hundred and that's what we did."
After Ashraful (190) had added one run to his overnight score, Hossain (100) joined in the run feast and became the sixth centurion in the match.
Hossain's maiden test hundred came off 151 balls and contained nine fours.
He and Mushfiqur added 106 runs for the sixth wicket before Dilshan had Hossain caught by Sangakkara.
The total by Bangladesh, ninth and last in the test world rankings, eclipsed the 556 they compiled against West Indies in Dhaka in November.
"We needed my innings badly because Sri Lanka scored huge and we needed to avoid the follow-on," said Mushfiqur.
"That was our first target. Our second target was to make sure we passed their total."
The second and final test in Colombo starts on Saturday.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)