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Sa'adi Thawfeeq in Colombo
July 2, 2007
The heavy defeat suffered in the first Test against Sri Lanka has prompted Bangladesh to make three changes for the second Test, starting on July 3 in Colombo's P Saravanamuttu Stadium. Sri Lanka are expected to reamin unchanged.
Khaled Mashud, the Bangladesh wicketkeeper, Abdur Razzak, the left-arm spinner, and Shakib Al Hasan, the middle-order batsman, have been dropped from the side. Mushfiqur Rahim will take over as keeper.
Shaun Williams, Bangladesh's coach, said Mushfiqur was preferred at this point of time because he has shown better form than Mashud. Shakib will be replaced by Mehrab Hossain Jnr, 19, who will make his Test debut. Further, Bangladesh have opted for an additional seamer, in Mohammad Sharif, at the expense of Razzak. Sharif will be part of a seam trio with Mohammad Rafique as the only genuine spinner in the side.
"We had a look at the wicket and there was some grass on it," said Williams. "With rain about we thought playing three seamers would be useful. If we require another spinner Mehrab can turn his left-arm over as he has done so often for the A team.
"We have strengthened our batting in the hope that we put up a better display than we did at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground [SSC]. We batted all right to a point in the second innings and we hope to take that positive into the second Test," he said.
Williams rated the Sri Lankan bowling attack as one of the best in modern-day cricket. "[Lasith] Malinga is a challenge in itself. Most of the boys have played him in the one-dayers. Not only him but when you look at the rest of the world Sri Lanka has a bowling attack that could compare with the best."
Jayawardene doesn't foresee any changes to the team that won inside four days although opener Upul Tharanga had joined the squad and started training. Tharanga had suffered a hairline fracture to his left heel after being hit by a yorker from Malinga at practice and was ruled out of the first two Tests. However he has made rapid progress with his injury and reported for training.
"I don't know whether Upul is 100 per cent fit," said Jayawardene. "We might not consider him for this Test match. Apart from that everyone looks fit. They have left a little bit of grass on the wicket so I don't see any changes in the combination."
That would mean that opener Malinda Warnapura who was dismissed for a first-ball duck on his Test debut, will be given another opportunity to show his capabilities at this level. "Mali got a very good ball on his Test debut", Jayawardene said. "You can't do anything about it. I am sure he'll have a very open mind about it and wish him all the very best. He has to take it very simple as if he is playing a club match or any other game. He is enjoying his practice sessions and working hard on his game like everybody else."
"He is an intelligent cricketer and he handled those situations very well. I have a lot of faith in him," he added.
Jayawardene stated that he expected Bangladesh to come back strongly but at the same time he expected his team to improve on their performance at the SSC.
"Test cricket is not easy nowadays. You just need to do the hard work from the first ball onwards. That's the philosophy we have in our camp. We start afresh and apply the same amount of pressure with any team not just Bangladesh," said Jayawardene.
He also felt that there were areas where Sri Lanka could improve. "Once settled in, the guys got quick runs but never went onto make big scores like 150-200. The bowlers bowled well in patches. We gave too many loose balls and boundary balls. We can field much better than we did. We just need to create more opportunities and take the half-chances," he said.
Sri Lanka: Michael Vandort, Malilnda Warnapura, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan.
Bangladesh: Javed Omar, Shahriar Nafees, Rajin Saleh, Habibul Bashar, Mohammad Ashraful (capt), Mehrab Hossain jnr, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shahadat Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mohammad Rafique, Mohammad Sharif.
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