Bangladesh vindicated the International Cricket Council’s so-called ‘position paper’s’ bid to resign them to the bottom half of the world game for a substantial period in the series opener, and are not likely to buck the trend in Chittagong.
Admittedly, conditions are bound to prove dryer and slower – insisting on the addition of an extra spinner in the talented Abdur Razzak instead of seamer Al-Amin Hossain. The rest, however, don’t sport the firepower needed.
The case of captain Mushfiqur Rahim and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan being a veritable two-man army has rung true far too often. The remainder are not stepping up in support consistently enough. Perhaps this week will be different.
What the shorter formats of the international game bring, the ultimate version takes away. Bangladesh must find the balance, if gains are to be made, particularly against a Sri Lanka unit prone to the odd choke.
The tourists were not afforded much of an opportunity to hone combinations in the first match. Almost everyone succeeded, and then some, and it’s only really the young Dinesh Chandimal in need of runs.
The right-hander will have the additional responsibility behind the stumps again, as Prasanna Jayawardene won’t be returning – yet – due to personal reasons. Now is the time for Chandimal to answer critics, perhaps even up the order, above captain Angelo Mathews at least.
The bowling ranks are reasonably unsettled, with seamer Suranga Lakmal growing in stature – and required to lead the attack in the absence of the injured Shaminda Eranga. It has been a long time coming, but Lakmal is finding a welcome groove for the future. The selectors, and new coach Paul Farbrace, will be pleased. The recalled Ajantha Mendis, meanwhile, should replace the injured Rangana Herath.
Key MenOpener Tamim Iqbal is an old hand in a younger order now, and certainly the man required to substantiate selection. The youngsters need guidance.
Dilruwan Perera is doing a masterful job in completing the balance of the XI, with bat and ball, so much so Ajantha Mendis – prolific in Chittagong – will probably be kept out of the XI.
Last Five Head-To-Head Results2014: First Test: Sri Lanka won by an innings and 248 runs in Dhaka2013: Second Test: Sri Lanka won by seven wickets in Colombo2013: First Test: Match drawn in Galle2009: Second Test: Sri Lanka won by 465 runs in Chittagong2008: First Test: Sri Lanka won by 107 runs in Dhaka
Probable TeamsBangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Shamsur Rahman, Marshall Ayub, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Nasir Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Sohag Gazi, Robiul Islam, Rubel Hossain.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews (captain), Kithuruwan Vithanage, Dinesh Chandimal (wicketkeeper), Dilruwan Perera, Ajantha Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep.
Dates: 4 to 8 FebruaryMorning session: 09:30-11:30 (03:30-05:30 GMT)Afternoon session: 12:10-14:10 (06:10-08:10 GMT)Evening session: 14:30-16:30 (08:30-10:30 GMT)On-field umpires: Paul Reiffel and Nigel LlongThird umpire: Anisur RahmanMatch referee: David Boon