CHITTAGONG: Bangladesh are looking for an all-round improvement as they try to bounce back from a massive defeat in the first Test against Sri Lanka when the second and final match starts on Tuesday (today). The hosts were annihilated by an innings and 248 runs inside four days in Dhaka last week, having been bowled out for 232 and 250 in good batting conditions in which Sri Lanka piled up 730-6. Mahela Jayawardene led the way with an unbeaten double-century and two others scored hundreds as Bangladesh conceded their highest Test total in another morale-sapping loss.
Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan said his teammates had put the setback behind them and looked forward to playing a good Test on a good pitch at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong. “Everyone was a bit down and sad after the loss in Dhaka, but they are fine now and focused on the next match,” Shakib said. “Matches can go bad, but coming back is very important. “We have come back from situations like these before, so we have that experience. But we have to improve in all aspects, especially the fielding.”
Shakib said each of the high-scoring Sri Lankan batsmen, including Jayawardene, were let off in the field through dropped catches or missed stumpings. “Had we grasped those opportunities, they may not have scored more than 500 runs,” he said. “And there is plenty of difference between 500 and 700.” Bangladesh could play an additional slow bowler in either left-armer Abdur Razzaq or off-spinner Mohammad Mahmudullah to back up Shakib and Sohag Gazi on a wicket that could take turn as the match progresses.
Sri Lanka were dealt a blow as two key bowlers were ruled out of the Test due to injuries and ordered to return home to recuperate. Frontline left-arm spinner Rangana Herath suffered a recurring knee injury and seamer Shaminda Eranga picked up a thigh injury during the first Test. A statement from Sri Lanka Cricket said the duo will be replaced by Thisara Perera and Kusal Perera, who are expected to arrive before the toss on Tuesday.
Sri Lankan veteran Kumar Sangakkara expected another match-winning performance by his team, but refused to take victory for granted. “We’re pretty much used to Bangladesh putting up a good fight,” said Sangakkara. “They pushed us in the series in Sri Lanka and we walked away with a one-all draw in the one-dayers. “We won’t expect anything less than that from them here. The earlier game may have been easier than we thought it would be, but we expect it to be different here.”
Sri Lanka have won 14 of their 15 Tests against Bangladesh, eight of them by an innings margin, and drawn the other. On their previous tour in 2008-09, Sri Lanka won the first Test in Dhaka by 107 runs and the second in Chittagong by 465 runs. Bangladesh, who languish at the bottom of the Test rankings at number 10 – lower than unfancied Zimbabwe – have lost 68 of their 82 Tests since gaining full status in 2000. They have won four Tests, two each against Zimbabwe and the West Indies.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Marshall Ayub, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Mominul Haque, Shamsur Rahman, Mohammad Mahmudullah, Imrul Kayes, Abdur Razzak, Sohag Gazi, Robiul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Al-Amin Hossain.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Thisara Perera, Vishwa Fernando, Ajantha Mendis.
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