Sri Lanka is considering an extra bowling opportunity in anticipation of the challenging Chattogram track

Sri Lanka is looking for a new beginning under Silverwood; Shakib available for Bangladesh

Big picture

A new prime minister in the country, a new cricket coach and a number of newcomers to the test party. Sri Lanka, on and off the field, is starting again. It is on the side of Bangladesh, which wants to restore some parity in 2022, where heat and cold have been blowing so far.

They could put together a reworked six, with Lahiru Thirimanne, Charith Asalanka and Pathum Nissanka off the test side. The attack on the pace must also intensify after Suranga Lakmal left after the previous series and the board asked Lahira Kumaru and Dushmantha Chameer to focus on white ball cricket.

All these changes would place a heavy burden on Dimuth Karunaratny, their captain and also the best scorer in Sri Lanka in the last two years. Such Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva could rely on their recent experience of the Bangladeshi domestic competition. The pair with their left arm, Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama, will form their bowling arsenal against a home team that has been doubting itself recently.

Bangladesh’s scores of 53 and 80 against South Africa in the previous series put them under tremendous pressure and went into their first home test this year. They usually fired well in Chattogram. Shakib Al Hasan’s inclusion may be a bit of a relief, but whether it will be 100% soon after the recovery from Covid must be seen.

Mominul Haque must find his form and end his long drought in Chattogram. As a captain, he will have difficult decisions in his bowling attack, as Bangladesh is without key pitchers Mehida Hasan Miraz and Taskin Ahmed, and Shakib’s bowling is unlikely to have full capacity.

Form Wizard

(Last five completed matches, last first)

Bangladesh LLLWL

Sri Lanka LLWWW

Middle of the attention

Mahmudul Hasan Joy during the first six months of international cricket, he had already seen both sides of the coin. Starting with the duck, he attracted a solid fifty in New Zealand and a century in South Africa, but then came the pair in Gqeberha, which revealed a bit of his weaknesses against the moving outswing.

His last test century came more than two years ago, however Kusal Mendis is between runs. The invincible first-class century hit Hambantota and a month ago another hundred in the Dhaka Premier League, Bangladesh’s premier one-day competition. A solid knock in Sri Lanka’s highest order is likely to set the tone for the Test series.

Team news

Shakib will probably get to 7th place, but the big decision will be who will replace Mehidy Hasan Miraz. Mosaddek Hossain could be a safe choice in 8th place because it offers a bit of batting and can play 12-15 overs a day. Choosing Nayeem Hasan or attacking at the pace of three men would be a bold move from Bangladesh’s point of view.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Mahmudul Hasan Joy, 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Mominul Haque (Captain), 5 Mushfiqur Rahim, 6 Litton Das (week), 7 Shakib Al Hasan, 8 Nayeem Hasan / Mosaddek Hossain, Taijul Islam, 10 Shoriful Islam, 11 Ebadot Hossain

Sri Lanka will have to make at least three changes to the side that played the second test against India in Bengaluru. They could drop Dinesh Chandimal and choose another bowling option in Ramesh Mendis or Chamika Karunaratne.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), 2 Oshada Fernando, 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Angelo Mathews, 5 Dhananjaya de Silva, 6 Dinesh Chandimal / Ramesh Mendis, 7 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 8 Lasith Embuldeniya, 8 Lasith Embuldeniya Rajitha / Asitha Fernando, 10 Praveen Jayawickrama, 11 Vishwa Fernando

Spacing and conditions

Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium has the highest batting average (minimum 10 matches) in Asia in the last 10 years, which is a welcome change for Bangladeshi batsmen, who usually have a hard time in Dhaka. Rain, even an odd storm, is forecast for all five days of this test.

Statistics and details

  • Of the current players, Mushfiqur Rahim alone has recorded more than 1,000 runs in Bangladesh-Sri Lanka competitions.
  • Sri Lanka will probably play both of its spinners with its left arm in Chattogram, but overseas lefties in Bangladesh have not been so successful. The last five-goal hit was made by a guest left-handed spinner in 2008.
  • Quotes

    “We have to play well for over five days. We have to dominate the match. We are not afraid of an opponent.”
    Bangladeshi captain Mominul Haque when asked about his party’s inability to play well in the final stages of the test match .

    “That’s a big advantage for us. Naweed Nawaz has been with the team under the age of 19 for a few years, but he knows the conditions so we can get some ideas from him. But I don’t think the results from previous years have anything to do with this series. “We don’t have to play well in Chittagong, even though we have won most of the matches in Dhaka. So I think we need to make a change and start here on the winning note.”
    Captain of Sri Lanka Dimuth Karunaratne talks about his new assistant coach, who is the winner of the Under-19 World Cup for Bangladesh.

    Mohammad Isam is a Bangladeshi correspondent for ESPNcricinfo. @ isam84


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