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December 21, 2008
Bangladesh wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim is confident his batsmen can negate the threat of Muttiah Muralitharan in the upcoming two-Test series at home against Sri Lanka, starting on Friday in Dhaka.
"The Sri Lankan bowling has a lot of variety especially in the longer-version game but without any doubt, Murali is the main threat," Mushfiqur said. "It was not so easy to read his doosra but what I feel is that now we can read it much better."
The 20-year-old has a reason to feel positive, as his highest score of 80 came against the same opposition in Colombo last July. His 191-run partnership with Mohammad Ashraful in that match though couldn't prevent Bangladesh from losing by an innings.
"I'm now more mature to handle this bowler while Ash [Mohammad Ashraful] had a good record against Sri Lanka as he's got some runs against them. He proved that nothing is impossible," he said.
Mushfiqur has played 12 Tests and, in addition to the 13 catches and one stumping, has scored 409 runs at 18.59 - a statistic he will be keen to improve on.
He also believed the batsmen needed to be courageous enough to survive against Muralitharan, the highest wicket-taker in Tests. "It would be unwise to be bogged down against him [Muralitharan], rather we have to be brave enough to handle him. We have to make sure that we rotate the strike to keep the scoreboard running," he said.
Mushfiqur remained optimistic despite Bangladesh's two previous series losses against the only teams they have played this year: New Zealand and South Africa. While they lost 0-1 in the two-match series at home to New Zealand in October, they lost both Tests in South Africa last month. Bangladesh have played eight Tests in 2008, losing seven and drawing a rain-affected game.
"We want to play good positive cricket in the series. I think we already proved that we have got the ability as a team to play good cricket but the problem is that all of the departments like batting, bowling could not click simultaneously. Anything can happen if our bowling and batting click together," said Mushfiqur.
Mushfiqur, who is a lower-order batsman, said he was ready to bat at the top if needed, though his main focus would be to serve the team first. "For me the team comes first. I am ready to bat at any position. The main thing is to contribute something for the team."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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