Sri Lanka aim for whitewash
Sri Lanka will go for a 3-0 whitewash of the Test series against Bangladesh in the third and final Test starting on July 11 at Kandy's Asgiriya International Stadium.
"That's the only way to look at it. We've played some really good cricket the last two weeks or so and we are 2-0 up in the series. We don't want to have any hiccups at this stage," said Mahela Jayawardene.
"We want to make sure that we concentrate and play the same brand of cricket and have the result going our way so that it will be good for us going into the one-day series as well as for the season which is coming up for us."
If Sri Lanka win at Kandy, it will be their 50th victory in 170 Test matches. With Chaminda Vaas having returned to England to see out his contract with Middlesex, Jayawardene stated that young all-rounder Farveez Maharoof would fill his vacancy in the team.
"Maharoof is our next best in the line up. He deserves his place. He's one guy who's performed really well," said Jayawardene. "We are also floating with the idea of giving Sujeewa de Silva an opportunity as well since we have wrapped up the series. He deserves an opportunity having performed well. If we take a decision to play him then either Lasith [Malinga] or Dilhara [Fernando] will be rested depending on the amount of cricket they have played and which of them we feel needs a break."
Also set to return for his first Test of the series is opener Upul Tharanga, who has recovered from a fractured left heel. "Upul has been our No.1 choice going into the Test series," said Jayawardene. "Injury kept him away. Everybody who has been given the opportunity has done well. What we have to realise is we cannot think right now but look to the future. The next six months there is a lot of cricket coming up and Upul's definitely going to be part of that. He needs to come in as quickly as possible and start playing good cricket and get into the stride. He will definitely play in this Test. We have to make a tough decision on Michael [Vandort] and Malinda [Warnapura]."
Jayawardene said he expected the pitch to be slower than that at the SSC and the Sara Stadium but added: "There would probably be a bit of movement as well as carry. I am not sure whether it has the same pace as the Sara Stadium but it will definitely have a little bit more movement given the fact that the conditions here are usually moist."
Mohammad Ashraful, the Bangladesh captain, said he hoped his bad luck with the toss would change in Kandy. "Luck has not gone my way and I am expecting it to change here." On both occasions he lost the toss, Bangladesh failed to top 100 in their first innings and this had led to the team being defeated by an innings in three days. Bangladesh have made two changes to their side with middle-order batsman Tushar Imran replacing Mehrab Hossain and fast bowler Syed Rasel replacing Mohammad Sharif.
Ashraful said that Mehrab was dropped after just one Test because he was not a middle-order batsman but a specialist opener. "Tushar has been scoring runs for the A team as well as in domestic cricket that's why we got him down early for the final Test."
Bangladesh will hope to avoid their second 3-0 whitewash in history. In their only previous three-Test series they lost to Pakistan.
Sri Lanka from: Upul Tharanga, Michael Vandort, Malinda Warnapura, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Farveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sujeewa de Silva.
Bangladesh from: Javed Omar, Nafees Ahmed, Rajin Saleh, Habibul Bashar, Mohammad Ashraful (capt), Tushar Imran, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Syed Rasel, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mohammad Rafique, Shahadat Hossain.