Host Bangladesh hopes that team spirit will propel it to victory in the series-deciding second Test against Sri Lanka from Monday with its four frontline bowlers all out injured.
Bowlers from both teams struggled to make an impact on all five days of the drawn first Test in Chittagong. But the wicket at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium is expected to offer some assistance and no Test has been drawn at the ground since 2016.
If Bangladesh, which enjoyed the upper hand in the first Test, is to get a result it will do so with its bowling stocks badly depleted. Off-spinner Nayeem Hasan, who claimed 6 for 105 in the first innings of the first Test, was the latest to be ruled out with a finger injury on Friday.
The host is also without Taskin Ahmed, Mehidy Hasan and Shoriful Islam.
Bangladesh has opted not to replace pacer Shoriful, who suffered a hand injury in Chittagong, while a replacement for Nayeem is yet to be named.
- Bangladesh: Mominul Haque (c), Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Najmul Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Liton Das, Yasir Ali, Mosaddek Hossain, Taijul Islam, Ebadot Hossain, Khaled Ahmed, Quazi Nurul Hasan, Rejaur Rahman, Shohidul Islam.
- Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Kamil Mishara, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Suminda Lakshan, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya.
Skipper Mominul Haque said it would need to be a team effort. “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,” Mominul said.
Mominul pointed to the host’s extensive experience of the wicket in the capital.
“We play our most matches in Dhaka. I think we know how to handle spin and pace,” he said.
Sri Lanka struck an equally upbeat tone. It has won all three Test matches it has played at Sher-e-Bangla stadium, including a 215-run victory during its last visit in 2018. “Our pacers did better than theirs (in the first Test). We have a few positives in that aspect,” all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva said.
Outlining a winning formula for the second Test, de Silva said the Dhaka wicket “will be helpful to the spinners.”
“If we are batting first we will try to get 275-300, and then get them out for less than 150 in one innings,” he said. “It will give us a chance to win.”
Pace bowlers took seven of Sri Lanka’s nine wickets in the first Test, with right-arm quick Kasun Rajitha – playing as a concussion substitute for Vishwa Fernando – leading the way with 4 for 60.