AFP/Galle, Sri Lanka
Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim urged Bangladesh’s batsmen to fill their boots again when they begin their Test series against Sri Lanka today on a ground where they made history last time round.
Bangladesh scored 638 in their first innings of the 2013 match in the southern city of Galle, their highest total in their 17-year Test history — holding the hosts to a rare draw in the process.
Mushfiqur became the first Bangladeshi to score a double century and Mohammad Ashraful struck 190 in that match as the Test minnows took a surprise first-innings lead after Sri Lanka had declared on 570-4.
It was the first time Sri Lanka had failed to win a Test against Bangladesh, although Bangladesh later managed another draw against the islanders in Chittagong in 2014. Mushfiqur said the wicket being used for this week’s Test may not quite yield the total of 1,613 runs scored over the course of the five days in 2013. But it should still be a pleasure to bat on. “The heat might help break down the wicket faster but if the batsmen apply themselves, there are plenty of runs available,” he told reporters on the eve of the first Test.
“It is probably a bit different than the 2013 Test but it is still a nice wicket to bat on, although I think there will be something for the quicks in the first two days.”
Mushfiqur said he had fond memories of Galle but added that Sri Lanka’s line-up would bear little resemblance to the 2013 team, with the exception of veteran spinner Rangana Herath who will captain the hosts.
“It is always a nice feeling to have achieved something as an individual and a team but it is a new game, and it looks like a new Sri Lanka attack apart from Rangana,” he said.
Herath, who is captaining the hosts in place of regular skipper Angelo Mathews, said confidence was “sky high” in the Sri Lankan camp after their last home series ended in a 3-0 victory over Australia
“Also we have done well in Galle historically,” said Herath of a venue where Sri Lanka have won their last three Tests.
Herath said the absence of Mathews, who returned home early from the recent tour of South Africa with an injury, was “a big blow” but the hosts were in confident mood having “prepared as well as we could”.
After the match in Galle, the sides play a second and final Test in Colombo before embarking on a series of ODI and Twenty20 contests.
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