Jan 262014
 
Bangladesh's new performers in focus against SL

Match facts

Monday, January 27 – January 31, 2014
Start time 0930 local (0330 GMT)

Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal set off for a run, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, 4th day, Abu Dhabi, January 3, 2014

Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal are the young leaders of Sri Lanka’s batting © AFP
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The last time Bangladesh and Sri Lanka met in a Test was in March 2013, at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo with long grass on the outfield. Tamim Iqbal went off in a huff after failing to get the ball to the boundary more times than he would have liked; match referee David Boon strolled out to talk to the curator, telling him to keep it consistent throughout the game. Sri Lanka managed to win the Test, and the series, but the game wasn’t without its share of fun.

Bangladesh-Sri Lanka contests have not been fun, except for those cricket fans who like heavy thrashings and batting records. That has been the real story of these two teams since 2001. Over the last three years, the big defeats have lessened but the batting records have continued.

In the first Test of the 2013 series, however, some of the batting records went Bangladesh’s way. Mushfiqur Rahim scored the country’s first Test double-hundred, while Mohammad Ashraful made 190, his highest Test score. Ashraful had actually been a central figure as Sri Lanka used to be his favourite opponent, the only team against whom he has scored more than 1,000 runs. But now he is no longer a part of the Bangladesh set-up, having been embroiled in the BPL corruption controversy.

The focus has shifted to the likes of Mushfiqur, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, and over the last twelve months to Nasir Hossain, Mominul Haque, Sohag Gazi and Robiul Islam. Bangladesh have a string of performers, all of whom have done something significant in the last 18 months.

Sri Lanka will rely on the stalwarts Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, but Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal are the newest Sri Lankan leadership pair that Bangladesh will need to watch. The form of the openers Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne is impressive, as well as the threat that is posed by Shaminda Eranga, Suranga Lakmal and Rangana Herath.

If Bangladesh play to form and keep the questions about their Test status away for enough time, they will give Sri Lanka a run for their money, perhaps for the first time.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
Bangladesh: DDWLL
Sri Lanka: LWDWD

In the spotlight

Dinesh Chandimal started the Test series against Pakistan solidly, but after that 89 in Abu Dhabi, he managed 36 runs in the next three innings. He is in need of some big scores, and would be looking to recall his form against Bangladesh last year when he scored two centuries.

Marshall Ayub missed opportunities to get to a milestone against New Zealand, but in the first Test, he would do well to capitalise should there be a chance. A talented batsman, he has been batting out of his usual middle-order position because Bangladesh haven’t found a batsman to replace Habibul Bashar at No. 3 in the last seven years.

Pitch and conditions

Shakib Al Hasan wants to play on a sporting track at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, but curator Gamini de Silva will probably dish out a slower surface. The bounce can be good in the first session of each day, because of the cooler weather and resultant moisture, but the batsmen would be expected to cash in for the rest of the day.

Team news

The only question for Bangladesh is whether they will hand a Test debut to Shamsur Rahman or bring in the more experienced Imrul Kayes to partner Tamim Iqbal. For now, it seems Shamsur is likely to get a look in.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Shamsur Rahman/Imrul Kayes, 3 Marshall Ayub, 4 Mominul Haque, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 6 Shakib Al Hasan, 7 Nasir Hossain, 8 Sohag Gazi, 9 Rubel Hossain, 10 Robiul Islam, 11 Abdur Razzak.

For Sri Lanka, there could be a toss-up between Nuwan Pradeep and Dilruwan Perera. Given the conditions, one would think Perera would be persevered with. However, Bangladesh have struggled against a bowler with extra pace, so Pradeep could return to the squad, after being dropped for the final Test against Pakistan.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Kaushal Silva, 2 Dimuth Karunaratne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara, 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Angelo Mathews (capt), 7 Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 8 Dilruwan Perera/Nuwan Pradeep, 9 Shaminda Eranga, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Suranga Lakmal.

Stats and trivia

  • Robiul Islam is one wicket away from picking up his 200th in first-class cricket.
  • Kumar Sangakkara has the most runs and most balls faced against Bangladesh.
  • Among the current squads, Rangana Herath’s 22 wickets is the most by any bowler in Bangladesh-Sri Lanka contests.

Quotes

“Pressure is a good thing for the Bangladesh team. We know that our place in the team is not permanent unless we perform regularly. There are people who are doing well in domestic cricket, and are pushing us.”
Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh allrounder on the competition for places in the team.

“It looks really good for batting, but you can’t predict it 100%. Generally the Dhaka wicket has been slow as well as good for batting.”
Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lanka captain on what he expects from the Dhaka pitch.

Dec 272013
 
Sri Lanka Earn Consolation Win
Friday 27 December 2013 

by Daniel Grummitt

Dinesh Chandimal pulls

Dinesh Chandimal guided Sri Lanka to a tense win with an undefeated half-century.

REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte. Picture Supplied by Action Images

Sri Lanka 235-8 (Chandimal 64no) beat
Pakistan 232 (Malinga 4-57) by 2 wickets
Fifth One-Day International, Abu Dhabi
Scorecard

Sri Lanka salvaged some pride ahead of the Test series against Pakistan by winning the final One-Day International in Abu Dhabi by two wickets.

A series that began with two close contests and then saw Pakistan clinch it with a brace of convincing wins reverted back to tension as Sri Lanka’s ninth-wicket pair of Ajantha Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal scored 36 off the final four overs to give their side victory.

The result might have been very different had the DRS system not been in operation. Mendis was given out LBW first ball to Saeed Ajmal but successfully reviewed the decision. He went on to do more than just support Chandimal and hit the winning boundary in the final over bowled by Anwar Ali to end on 19 off 14 balls.

Chandimal, meanwhile, finished on 64 off 70 balls and held the innings together after it had threatened to implode. Openers Kushal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan had added 75 in little more than 12 overs, but both men fell just shy of half-centuries and wickets tumbled in the middle overs.

113 for one after 24 overs became 195 for eight in the 46th as Junaid Khan (3-31) removed Dilshan (45), Kumar Sangakkara (22) and Sachithra Senanayake (3), and Umar Gul, Anwar Ali and Saeed Ajmal accounted for Ashan Priyanjan (1), Angelo Mathews (8) and Kithruwan Vithanage (14). Junaid might have proved the match-winner for Pakistan but limped off the field after bowling just one ball of his eighth over. They were also without Shahid Afridi, who has returned home to be with his unwell daughter.

Their innings had earlier been a misfiring affair. The most substantial partnership was the 58 that Mohammad Hafeez shared with his captain Misbah-ul-Haq for the fourth-wicket after openers Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad had both fallen after getting useful starts.

Series triple-centurion Hafeez was bowled by Angelo Mathews (1-26) when on 41, with Umar Akmal then adding a further 41 with Misbah before both departed in quick succession; Akmal for 20 to Ajantha Mendis (1-42) and Misbah to Lasith Malinga for 51.

It took an unbeaten cameo of 41 off 38 balls from Anwar Ali to lift Pakistan to 232. The all-rounder hit two fours and a six but was left stranded with three balls of the innings to go as Suranga Lakmal dismissed Ajmal (8) and Junaid (0) with successive deliveries. Malinga took wickets at different stages of the Pakistan run chase and ended as the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with four for 57.

The first Test between the two sides begins in Abu Dhabi on 31st December. Pakistan have recalled Mohammad Hafeez after his imperious showing in this series, while Sri Lanka have included young left-arm seam-bowler Vishwa Fernando in their squad. They also welcome back Mahela Jayawardene and Rangana Herath after the pair missed the ODIs for personal reasons.

© Cricket World 2013

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