SL seek success in familiar conditions
Angelo Mathews has said that the Sri Lanka players' familiarity with the venue will help his team size up conditions at the Mirpur stadium during the first Test. Mathews had been among the 38 Sri Lankan cricketers who had traveled to Bangladesh for last year's Dhaka Premier League, turning out four times for Brothers Union. Spinner Ajantha Mendis also played in the tournament.
"Even I played a few games at Mirpur and that was an experience for us, to see how the wickets are behaving," Mathews said. "The World T20 is coming up in the next couple of months as well as the Asia Cup, so it was a good experience for all of us to get used to the conditions and the wickets here."
Sri Lanka have also played a Test in Mirpur, and Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Rangana Herath and Prasanna Jayawardene were in that 2008 side that won by 107 runs.
"A few of the boys have played here before. Our support staff have also been here for quite a while and they know the conditions, so we get a lot of information."
The first Test begins less than a week after their last match against Pakistan concluded at Sharjah. All three matches in the previous series had lasted five days, with fast bowlers Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal delivering 130.3 overs in the series, but Mathews said Sri Lanka had been vigilant in preventing fatigue in the approach to the Tests.
"We are closely monitoring the workload of the bowlers - particularly the fast bowlers - because they've done a lot of hard work in the UAE. They're pulling up pretty well and they'll be fit to go.
"It is a tight schedule for us. We've been playing continuous cricket and we will be playing continuous cricket in the next few months. It's going to be demanding as far as the body is concerned, but it's about managing yourself."
The fast bowlers had been exceptional for Sri Lanka, as had Mathews himself, who averaged 103 with the bat from No. 6. Kaushal Silva has also brought appreciable stability to the top order, and Mathews said his team would aim to build on the strides they had made against Pakistan.
"We played some really good cricket in the UAE except for the last two sessions of the last Test match. That cost us the series. But all the guys are in good nick so we hope to continue the same way as we did in UAE and not take Bangladesh lightly at all. We can't be complacent with Bangladesh because they are a very good team at home. We need to be positive and aggressive to win against them.
"The start to the series is very important. A good start gets that momentum and it will keep you going. The first Test is going to be very crucial."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here