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Andrew Fidel Fernando in Chittagong
February 3, 2014
Sri Lanka's major battle in Chittagong will be in the mind, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said, as his team prepares to pursue their first away series victory since 2008, which had also come against Bangladesh. Four times since July 2010, Sri Lanka have allowed an opposition to level the series after heading into the final match with a 1-0 lead.
"The mental approach is going to be very important in this game," Mathews said. "If we play the same way we played in the first Test, we will probably win. But it's a fresh wicket, fresh start, fresh conditions and we'll probably try to adapt as quickly as possible and perform as well as we'd like to. It was a great inspiration for all of us to win by an innings and 248 runs. The guys are really looking forward to going out and doing a great job."
Ajantha Mendis is almost certain to play after Rangana Herath's problematic knee flared up, leaving him in serious doubt for the match. Mendis had been viewed as a limited-overs specialist before this tour, but Mathews said he could be effective in Tests, despite a tapering off of his results in that format. Mendis averaged 18.28 on his last visit to Bangladesh in 2008, but has only averaged less than 40 in one of eight series since then.
"All players have a bit of a rough patch as their career goes on. Mendis had a bit of a rough patch in he past, but he's bowling brilliantly and he's back in form. He'll be a good candidate to play if Herath doesn't pull up tomorrow."
Mathews echoed Kumar Sangakkara's sentiments that Sri Lanka expected stiffer fight from Bangladesh in this match, than they had encountered in Mirpur. Sri Lanka finished that game with four full sessions still to play. "Bangladesh have not got anything to lose and they'll come back hard at us, so we've got to accept the challenge. It's their own conditions and they play well at home, so we'll expect a good challenge from them and we'll play our brand of cricket to try and win the game."
Sangakkara had also said Sri Lanka's short-ball bowling plan from the first Test may not be effective on the Chittagong surface, and Mathews agreed, hinting that spinners may be the major threat. "The wicket looks very good. You can't predict it 100%, but it might get slower and lower as the Test match goes on. At least the first couple of days will be good for batting."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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