Much stronger 5th ranked Sri Lanka have taken intensive preparation for the upcoming three matches test series starting next month in Sri Lanka. Visitors Bangladesh, however, have not yet started formal preparation.
By the time Tigers start preparation in full swing time will arrive for them to travel to Sri Lanka. The team has to stay in quarantine and very little time will be left for match practice before the first test scheduled to start. Even a fully prepared Bangladesh team with Shakib Al Hasan would find it extremely difficult to even prove competitive against Sri Lanka. On can imagine what can be the fate of the test series when unprepared Bangladesh plays the test series against a fully prepared home team at Sri Lanka. Two of three tests may be played at Pallekele where wicket and the condition favour pace bowling.
The other test match is scheduled to be held in Colombo. In recent time Bangladesh looked like raw novice in negotiating with the high quality pace attacks of Pakistan and India. They also could not fare well at all against spin of Afghanistan. In this condition BCB is sending an under prepared team to Sri Lanka as if “Lambs for sacrifice”.
Sri Lanka have won 16 of the 20 tests played between the two countries. Bangladesh lone victory against them was last time when Tigers visited. That match was 100th test match of Bangladesh. Bangladesh ranks 10 among 12 test playing countries even below Afghanistan. Sri Lanka is at 5. Obviously Bangladesh would start the series as underdog. The series being part of world test championship, there is no chance of taking things easy. To survive among the fire tyre to test teams Bangladesh must win many matches to finish among top eight by the end of the ongoing test championship. Otherwise they have to play tests against 9-12th test ranked teams and associate countries to qualify for next round of test championship. That will be a total disgrace. BCB would be getting usual financial support from ICC as test playing country in elite club. All in BCB knew such situation. But unfortunately they took no initiative for strengthening domestic cricket format facilitating growth of a sustainable test team. There is no accountability and no one is asking question.
Sri Lankan Test Squad:
Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Oshada Fernando, Lahiru Udara, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Saltbush Gunathilaka, Kamindu Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Embuldeniya, Duvindu Tillakaratne, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Asitha Fernando.
The above squad of 23 has as many as 6 pace bowlers young and seasoned set to mesmerise Bangladesh with relentless aggression on pace friendly Palekelli wicket. Two of the three tests will be played there. The following youngsters included in the team all are performing admirably in the ongoing domestic cricket. Lahiru Udara, Duvindu Tillakaratne, Santhush Gunathilaka, Minod Bhanuka, Wanindu Hasaranga and Kamindu Mendis.
What Should Bangladesh Do?
Bangladesh looked hopeless against pace battery of both Pakistan and India. They also looked novice against spin of Rashid Khan at Chattogram. Now under prepared Bangladesh will struggle against well cooked Sri Lankan attack. Shakib is still serving 1 year suspended ban of the 2 years ICC punishment for hiding his conversation with bookies. All expects that ICC would official clearance on time for letting him available for Selection for the second test of the series.
Bangladesh must bolster test batting with the inclusion of Mohammad Ashraful, the first batting maestro of Bangladesh for his excellent test record against Sri Lanka . He scored 5 of his 6 test centuries against Sri Lanka. These include his 109 he scored as the youngest ever test batsman breaking the long held record of Mustaq Mohammad. His last test innings of 190 was also against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. He is reportedly fit and is raring to go. Not only him even some experienced batsmen like Shahriar Nafis, Tushar Imran and Naeem Islam must also be considered for inclusion in the squad. Finally Mahmudullah Riad must also be included in the test squad. Warnar and Smith are playing Ok for Australia after serving 1 year ban for ball tampering. Mohammad Amiir is playing for Pakistan even though serving punishment in Jail for spot fixing. Ashraful served his 5 years ban and looked OK in domestic cricket. He richly deserves a second chance.
There is little chance that Bangladesh attack can take 20 sri Lankan wickets in any test. Hence Bangladesh must have very strong batting line up to try and earn honourable draws at list if they can not win any. Bangladesh must have at list 6 pacers Rahi, Mustafiz, Ebadat, Khaled, Taskin and Rubel in the team. The spin attack will rest on Taijul, MehediMiraj and Aminul.
We are not sure how much Bangladesh will gain from Craig McMillan. In short time what can he deliver for the batsmen. Hover, having Dan Vettori and Craig McMillan will assist Bangladesh for preparing the team for Kiwi challenge later on tour and at home.
Bangladesh must not loose against Sri Lanka at it will sink them still further and make its state pretty vulnerable for subsiding to the second tier of test cricket. That will trigger disaster for Bangladesh cricket.
BDST: 1219 HRS, SEP 08, 2020