Bangladeshi cricketer Mohammad Ashraful (C) and teammates warm up during a practise session at the R. Premadasa Cricket Stadium in Colombo on Friday. AFP photo
COLOMBO: Favourites Sri Lanka will be desperate to deliver when they clash with a buoyant Bangladesh in the second and final Test starting in Colombo on Saturday.
Bangladesh exceeded expectations in the drawn first Test in Galle, posting their highest total of 638 in 76 matches since gaining Test status in 2000. The draw was their first after 12 successive defeats against Sri Lanka.
Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim led from the front with a solid 200, the first double-century by a Bangladeshi batsman in Tests. Mohammad Ashraful and Nasir Hossain also scored hundreds, dominating the Sri Lankan attack.
The home team’s batsmen also caught the eye in Galle, with Kumar Sangakkara scoring a century in each innings of the Test. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal also made hundreds.
Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews, captaining in his first Test series, will hope the pitch at the R. Premadasa stadium in Colombo offers help to his bowlers, who struggled for success on the flat Galle track.
Spinners Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis and paceman Shaminda Eranga each conceded more than 100 runs in the first innings.
While another draw will be a moral victory for Bangladesh, it would severely dent Sri Lanka’s bowling reputation.
“It looks like a sporting wicket. To win a Test match we need to take 20 wickets,” said Mathews.
“We try to be as positive as we can. Bangladesh are a very dangerous team, so we cannot underestimate them. They performed extremely well in Galle, so we got to be careful,” he said.
The Bangladesh captain, who described the draw as a “huge achievement”, said he hoped his team would be able to repeat their Galle performance.
“They (Sri Lanka) are a pretty strong side and I am sure they will come hard at us. We want to be consistent. That’s our main target,” said Rahim.
“The last Test is history. Probably there will be couple of changes in our side. Tamim Iqbal is fit and ready to play.”
Hard-hitting opener Tamim missed the first Test due to injury, while left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak may also make it to the playing XI.
Sri Lanka (from): Angelo Mathews (capt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Tharindu Kaushal, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Ajantha Mendis, Jeevan Mendis, Kushal Perera, Chanaka Welegedara.
Bangladesh (from): Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Mohammad Mahmudullah, Abdur Razzak, Abul Hasan, Anamul Haque, Elias Sunny, Jahurul Islam, Marshall Ayub, Mohammad Ashraful, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Robiul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Shahadat Hossain, Sohag Gazi, Tamim Iqbal.
Source: The Independent