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CAN SRI LANKA SUCCEED AT MIRPUR ‘DUST BOWL’?

  • Injury-riddled Bangladesh will strive to win at ‘happy hunting ground’  

BANGLADESH VS. SL 2ND AND FINAL TEST FROM TODAY (23)

Venue: Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Start time: 10 a.m. local time (9.30 a.m. Sri Lanka time)

Live TV coverage: Supreme TV (on Dialog TV) and Event TV (on PEO TV)

Teams:

Bangladesh (Probable) – 1. Tamim Iqbal, 2. Mahmudul Hasan Joy, 3. Najmul Hossain Shanto, 4. Mominul Haque (Capt.), 5. Mushfiqur Rahim, 6. Liton Das (wicketkeeper), 7. Shakib Al Hasan, 8. Mosaddek Hossain, 9. Taijul Islam, 10. Khaled Ahmed, 11. Ebadot Hossain

Sri Lanka – 1. Oshada Fernando, 2. Dimuth Karunaratne (Capt.), 3. Kusal Mendis, 4. Angelo Mathews, 5. Dhananjaya de Silva, 6. Dinesh Chandimal, 7. Niroshan Dickwella (wicketkeeper), 8. Ramesh Mendis, 9. Praveen Jayawickrama, 10. Asitha Fernando, 11. Kasun Rajitha

Some vital facts:

# Only three out of the 22 Tests have been drawn at this venue

# All six home Test wins of Bangladesh have come at Mirpur

# But the highest total at the venue, 730/6, has been recorded by Sri Lanka, in January 2014

# The four highest run-getters of the venue, Shakib Al Hasan (1,409 runs at an average of 45.45), Mushfiqur Rahim (1,302 at 40.68), Tamim Iqbal (1,260 at 38.18), and Mominul Haq (883 at 44.15), will be playing today

# The highest wicket-takers too at Mirpur, Shakib Al Hasan (63 wickets at an average of 32.03) and Taijul Islam (54 at 23.59), are also playing today

After drawing the opening Test on Thursday (19) at Chattogram, a depleted Bangladesh side will look to overcome their troubles and secure their first-ever series win against Sri Lanka in their Test history.

The tussle will be on from today (23), about 250 km northwest of Chattogram, on the usually crumbly pitch – a dust bowl – at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka, a spinner paradise!

Sri Lanka has upper hand

Sri Lanka has a superior record against Bangladesh overall, anyway. However, after the first Test ended in a tame draw, the hosts will be looking to turn things around.

It is easier said than done though, with injuries rampant in the Bangladesh camp. Bangladesh are missing their four major bowlers. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will look to be inspired by their previous victories at the venue, achieved through the efforts of their spinners.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced yesterday (22) that three spinners, Praveen Jayawickrama (left-arm leg-spin/orthodox), Ramesh Mendis (right-arm off), and Dhananjaya de Silva (right-arm off) will play today. 

Injured Bangladesh players

Off-spinner Nayeem Hasan, who picked up six wickets in the first Test, was ruled out with a finger fracture that puts him out of action for four weeks.

Joining him is left-arm quick Shoriful Islam, who picked up a right hand injury on the fourth day in Chattogram. Replacements for both players have not yet been announced.

Still missing from action are right-arm pacer Taskin Ahmed and off-spinner Mehidy Hasan, who continue to recover.

ICC WTC situation

If Sri Lanka win this Test, they can reach the fourth spot in the current International Cricket Council (ICC) World Test Championship (WTC) 2021-23 cycle points table, where they are now in fifth place.

The Mirpur surface has almost always produced results. Both squads are awash with spin options. Historically, Bangladesh have picked three slow bowlers and one seamer in Mirpur. The pitch, this time around too, is expected to take a sharp turn.

Two teams

Bangladesh have won five of their last eight Tests here, but perhaps that stat is slightly misleading, because they are on a two-game losing streak in Mirpur. Last year, finger spinners Rahkeem Cornwall and Sajid Khan took them down, delivering wins for West Indies and Pakistan respectively.

The Sri Lankans, on the other hand, are a confident bunch. Playing their full-strength team and history on their side, they have the firepower to dominate the opposition, assumed ICC on their match preview yesterday (22).

However, Bangladesh can take solace from the fact that, although their bowling has suffered, their batting unit appears to be in form and raring to go.

Pitch and weather

Rain is forecast for the first two days but then the clouds are expected to clear. Yet temperatures are expected to rise to as high as 39 degrees Celsius for the rest of the week.

Even if there are rain interruptions, there could very well be a result in the Test as the track is expected to be heavily in favour of the spinners in the last two days. 

What they said

Bangladesh Captain Mominul Haque: “Batsmen or bowlers, we get good results when we can play as a team. The team gets into a good position whenever we give a collective effort. It will help us in Dhaka (Mirpur).”

Sri Lanka batter Dhananjaya de Silva: “Our pacers did better than theirs (in the first Test). We have a few positives in that aspect. If we are batting first, we will try to get 275-300, and then get them out for less than 150 in one innings. It will give us a chance to win.”

CAN SRI LANKA SUCCEED AT MIRPUR ‘DUST BOWL’?

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