With a 242-run first-innings lead, Sri Lanka declared the second innings of Kandy at 194 for nine and set 437 for Bangladesh to win the series.
Bangladesh never won a Test chasing more than 215 runs. The highest successful chase in Tests is 418, which was scored by West Indies in 2003 against Australia. It means Bangladesh have to make a world record to win this game.
Dimuth Karunaratne led Sri Lanka from the front by hitting yet another fifty in the series. He fell prey as Saif Hassan’s maiden Test wicket after scoring 66 in the second innings which helped Sri Lanka past the 400-run mark as their lead.
Angelo Mathews departed early in the morning but Dhananjaya de Silva added 41 in a quick move.
Bangladesh left-arm spinner Taijul Islam registered a five-wicket haul while Mehidy Hasan Miraz took two wickets.
Earlier, Sri Lanka posted a mammoth total of 493 runs for seven in their first innings riding on the centuries of Dimuth Karunarate (118) and Lahiru Thirimanne (140) and Oshada Fernando scored 81. Niroshan Dickwella, the wicketkeeper-batsman, remained not-out for 77.
Taskin Ahmed was the best bowler for Bangladesh taking four wickets for 127 runs, which is now his best bowling figures in Tests.
In reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings, Bangladesh tumbled for only 251 runs despite a 90 from Tamim Iqbal. Most of the batsman have had a good start but they failed to come up with the big innings.
Mominul Haque ended up on 49 and Mushfiqur Rahim scored 40. The onus was on them to propel the Tigers to a safe position in this game, but they disappointed.
Sri Lankan debutant Praveen Jayawickrama, who got a chance to play this game due to injuries or off-form of the other spinners, bagged six wickets conceding 92 runs, which is now the best bowling for a Sri Lankan debutant in Tests.