Mohammad Ashraful [ Images ] made the highest score by a Bangladesh batsman in Test cricket when he scored a magnificent unbeaten 189 on the third day of the first Test against Sri Lanka [ Images ] on Sunday.
Together with captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who also made a career best score of 152 not out, Ashraful figured in an all-time record partnership for his country of 261 as Bangladesh reached 438 for four replying to Sri Lanka's first innings of 570-4 declared.
Bangladesh trail Sri Lanka by 132 runs with two days left.
Sri Lanka grabbed two wickets in the first session but Ashraful and Mushfiqur then batted together through the rest of the day to frustrate the home bowlers on a flat track that hardly offered any assistance.
The ball rarely beat the bat and Sri Lanka also missed a few half chances that came their way with Ashraful on 110 and 143 and Mushfiqur on 103.
Ashraful, selected for the tour only because of an injury to Shariar Nafees, went past his own previous highest score for Bangladesh -- 158 not out against India [ Images ] at Chittagong in 2004 -- and by the close had faced 398 balls and hit 20 fours and a six.
Mushfiqur provided him with excellent support, striking 18 fours and one six in his 236-ball knock.
Ashraful celebrated his return to Test cricket after a 15-month absence by reaching his sixth century in the morning session, having moved on from his overnight score of 65.
It was his fifth ton against Sri Lanka and he raised his bat and punched the air in delight.
Ashraful had enjoyed a third wicket stand of 105 with overnight partner Mominul Haque before the hosts made a quick double strike.
Seven runs later, Mahmudullah (0) gave the charge to left-arm spinner Rangana Herath [ Images ] but missed to offer wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal an easy stumping.
Sri Lanka first innings 570-4 declared
Bangladesh first innings (135-2 overnight): Jahurul Islam c Chandimal b Eranga 20,Anamul Haque b Mendis 13,Mohammad Ashraful n.o.189, Mominul Haque c Mathews b Kulasekara 55, Mahmudullah st Chandimal b Herath 0, Mushfiqur Rahim n.o. 152
Total: (for four wickets in 136 overs) 438
Fall of wickets: 1-23, 2-65, 3-170, 4-177.
Bowling: Kulasekara 21-3-76-1 (nb-1), Eranga 22-3-80-1 (nb-5), Herath 42-9-103-1, Mendis 23-2-92-1, Mathews 6-1-16-0, Dilshan 20-3-55-0, Thirimanne 2-0-13-0.
Photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images