Tigers in conundrum over pitch, team

A file photo from January 26, 2018 shows Bangladesh openers Tamim Iqbal (L) and Imrul Kayes inspecting the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium wicket at Mirpur. — New Age photo

Bangladesh are in two minds over wicket for the second Test in Dhaka after criticism over the surface in the past few days.
The Sri Lankan curator of the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Gamini de Silva, came under fire after the recent tri-series final where run was hard to come by.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board reportedly sought an explanation from the curator, who had been in charge of the ground since 2011.
BCB officials denied reports of issuing any show-cause notice for Gamini, but made no attempt to hide their dissatisfaction over the nature of the wicket.
When Bangladesh were expecting it to be a batting paradise, the wicket came very slow and at times kept low, making it very difficult to score against spinners.
Bangladesh offered similar wicket to England and Australia in their last two Test series at home and were successful in winning both the games.
Chances are high that it could be a boomerang against Sri Lanka, who have some quality spinners in their repertoire and their batsmen are also quite familiar to playing in this kind of wicket.
Bangladesh were bowled out for 82 runs in their last league match of the tri-series and could score just 142 in the final on a similar wicket.
Sri Lanka made no complaint about the Dhaka wicket but loathed the wicket that was offered to them in the first Test in Chittagong.
A total of 1,533 runs were scored on the Chittagong pitch in five days, which Sri Lanka did not like as they were hoping for some spin there.
Sri Lankan batsman Dimuth Karunaratne publicly criticised the wicket, though he personally could not open his account on the surface.
The visitors were mostly surprised by the wicket on the fifth day, which Bangladesh started precariously at 81-3 before enjoying a run fest.
There are instances of Chittagong wicket turning batsman-friendly on the fifth day, most famously against New Zealand in 2008, but it did hardly convince Sri Lankan team.
Sri Lankan coach Chandika Hathurusinghe was behind Bangladesh’s successful recipe of wicket against England and Australia, but Bangladesh seemed unsure if they would apply the same method against his Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh’s confusion was also highlighted in their squad for both Tests.
In Chittagong they carried six spinners only to find a batting surface from the local curator, which forced them to concede over 700 runs – only second time in their history.
After such of a battering of their spinners by Sri Lankan batsmen, who scored three centuries and two fifties after losing their first wicket on naught, it was expected that Bangladesh would rethink about their bowling strategy.
But all they did after the first Test was reinforcing their batting as they added batsman Sabbir Rahman to the squad and axed two bowlers.
The inclusion of Sabbir was confusing given Bangladesh’s batting line-up is all but fixed at the moment.
Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Mahmudullah and Mosaddek Hossain were expected to follow to openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes, leaving no room for further option.
As Sakib al Hasan is injured they cannot compromise a bowler to bolster their batting, meaning Mehedi Hasan, Taijul Islam and Mustafizur Rahman are also certain to play barring injury.
The only dilemma before the second Test should be whether to pick a third spinner or a second seamer if Bangladesh are to take 20 wickets to win the match and their maiden series against Sri Lanka.
The selectors instead added an extra-batsman to the team which must confuse their think-tanks and opponents as well.

Source:  New Age.


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