The ODI Tri-series has just concluded and it is time to get into the white clothing. The hosts Bangladesh looked very strong and dominated at the start of ODI Series., Sri Lanka managed to come in their own by the end of it. In fact, they thumped Bangladesh in two consecutive matches.
Test Match cricket is a different ball game altogether. In the age where every nation is doctoring the pitches to its strength and gunning down every visitor, Bangladesh is no exception.
Bangladesh has gone from strength to strength in home conditions.
In last three years, Bangladesh has drawn a series against South Africa – won a Test against England – won a Test against Australia & defeated Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Here they have a Sri Lankan team which will further bolster Bangladesh’s claim of home impregnability.
The Sri Lankan Test team has been a mystery though. In July 2017, they almost lost a Test match to Zimbabwe. After that, India treated them worse than a punching bag. The three Tests in Sri Lanka were no contest at all.
Sri Lanka went to UAE and managed to do something no other team could, that was to defeat Pakistan. Sri Lanka won the series 2-0. Back in India, they did well in patches and managed to avoid a 3-0 whitewash.
Bangladesh however, has to deal with a major blow even before the start of the first Test. Premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was injured in the tri-series final. His replacement is Abdul Razzak.
The batting line-up looks solid with the presence of Tamim at the top but Bangladesh is yet to have a settled spinning combination. Here again, they have Mehidy, Jubair, Taijul, and Razzak. It will be a contest within contest amongst these bowlers.
Injury scare hangs over Sri Lanka’s most dependable batsman in Angelo Mathews. It was his and Dinesh Chandimal’s marathon innings in Delhi that saved the blushes for Sri Lanka in the final Test. Sri Lanka will be desperate to have his experience around.
The most lethal weapon for Sri Lanka will obviously be Rangana Herath. The most successful left-arm spinner in Test cricket history will be licking his lips to add to the tally of his wickets. In Bangladesh, Herath has taken only 4 wickets till now in two Tests, lowest in any Test playing nation.
The 2-match Test series beginning on 31st January hopes to be an interesting tussle between teams trying to prove themselves. With two seemingly equal teams pitted against each other, Test cricket will take the centre-stage.
Jan 31, Wed – Feb 04, Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test – Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
Feb 08, Thu – Feb 12, Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, 2nd Test -Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
Sri Lanka Squad:
Dinesh Chandimal(c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Roshen Silva, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Nipun Dananjaya, Lahiru Kumara
Bangladesh 1st Test Squad:
Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal, Rubel Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Liton Das, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mosaddek Hossain, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Naeem Hasan, Mahmudullah(c), Sunzamul Islam, Tanbir Hayder, Abdur Razzak