Moody aims for killer instinct
Tom Moody has called for Sri Lanka to round off the honeymoon period of his coaching tenure with a resounding victory against Bangladesh in the second Test on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka waltzed to a comfortable two-and-a-half day, innings and 94-run victory in the first Test and are expected to win the second game easily to complete a 2-0 clean sweep. It comes on the heels of a 2-0 series win over the West Indies as well as winning the triangular Indian Oil Cup, that included India.
But Moody realises that after two months in charge, a period during which he has quickly gained the respect and trust of the players, life is about to get tougher with tours to India, New Zealand and Australia fast looming on the horizon.
"We have had a great run over the last two months and it is important for us to finish off on a positive note as we will not be playing at home for some time now," Moody told AFP after the team's final training session.
Moody expects the batsmen to deliver: "I don't think the conditions were ideal for batting [in the first Test]. The wicket didn't represent a good Test pitch. I believe we'll be playing on a very good cricket wicket here and if we don't score heavily and get some big scores, then I would be a little disappointed."
Sri Lanka look set to call-up Russel Arnold for his first Test in 14 months after Tillakaratne Dilshan injured his right elbow during the practice session. Dilshan was hit painfully on the elbow joint by one of the net bowlers and was unable to flex the joint on Tuesday evening.
Sri Lanka's only other possible change may be the third seamer. Dilhara Fernando bowled only four overs in the first Test and the selectors may consider the option of an allrounder or extra batsman. But with the P. Saravanamuttu pitch set to offer better batting conditions Fernando is likely to get another chance.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, are looking to salvage some pride after what has been a disappointing tour. Their successes in England had raised expectations, but they've never challenged Sri Lanka's superiority and have badly missed the extra pace of Mashrafe Mortaza in their bowling attack.
After their spectacular collapse against Muttiah Muralitharan last week they took a two-day break to refresh and regroup. When they resumed practice on Saturday afternoon Habibul Bashar, the skipper, noticed a new spring in the step of his players.
Dav Whatmore pinpointed the first day collapse from 155 for 2 to 188 all out as the pivotal period of the last game. "A score of 155 for 2 gives every indication that the boys can go and put up a decent total," he said. "It is unfortunate that they didn't as I know they are capable of being more competitive."
Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Marvan Atapattu (capt), 2 Sanath Jayasuriya, 3 Kumar Sangakkara, 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Russel Arnold, 7 Chaminda Vaas, 8 Rangana Herath, 9 Muttiah Muralitharan, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Dilhara Fernando
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Javed Omer, 2 Shahriar Nafees, 3 Habibul Bashar (capt), 4 Mohammad Ashraful, 5 Aftab Ahmed, 6 Tushar Imran, 7 Khaled Mashud, 8 Mohammad Rafique, 9 Syed Rasel, 10 Enamul Haque, 11 Shahadat Hossain.
Charlie Austin is Cricinfo's Sri Lankan correspondent