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July 15, 2007
Shaun Williams, Bangladesh's interim coach, has said that the team must learn lessons from their defeats against Sri Lanka if they want to avoid further humiliation at the Test level. Bangladesh were thoroughly outplayed in the Test series, losing each of the three matches by an innings.
"We don't have enough to challenge top-shelf Test teams," Williams said. "Sri Lanka allowed us nothing and that's what you expect from a top-quality team. It was very difficult to get many positives out of this sort of result."
Bangladesh were awarded only their second three-match Test series - the first being against Pakistan in 2003 - but only one team played meaningful cricket as Sri Lanka dominated from start to finish. The first Test ended early on the fourth morning, the second in three days and just over two days of playing time was needed in the rain-hit third Test here for Sri Lanka to complete a 3-0 sweep. Sri Lanka have now won all their 10 Tests against Bangladesh, seven of them by an innings.
"We were inconsistent in our batting although there were some individual performances," Williams said. "There were good signs here and there. But there were only little things we can take back."
He added there was more to Sri Lankan cricket than just the superstars like Muttiah Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene, Chaminda Vaas and Kumar Sangakkara. "We've got a lot to learn from Sri Lanka cricket, the way they've gone about building a side," said Williams, who served as interim coach for the tour as Bangladesh search for a replacement for Dav Whatmore. "The way they have built their A team and youth programme - there's a lot to be learnt from that. It hasn't happened overnight. If Bangladesh cricket can learn from that, then in time we can go forward."
Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh's 23-year-old captain who endured a clean sweep in his first series in charge, admitted it was difficult to play competitive Test cricket against Sri Lanka. "Playing Test cricket was very tough in Sri Lanka," he said. "We know Test cricket is very difficult because Sri Lanka is a very good side, especially at home."
Ashraful predicted an improved showing in the three-match one-day series, which stars in Colombo on Friday. Bangladesh, who have lost 43 of their 49 Tests, have fared better in the shorter version of the game, making a maiden second-round appearance in the recent World Cup. "We beat India and South Africa in the World Cup and that has given us some confidence," said Ashraful. "Hopefully the one-dayers will be closer than the Tests were."
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