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Mohammad Isam in Colombo
March 15, 2013
A fully fit squad, with Tamim Iqbal and Rubel Hossain having recovered from their injuries, means Bangladesh will make a few changes to the playing XI for the second Test in Colombo. Tamim and Rubel are expected to return to the side, and the composition of the bowling attack is expected to reflect the team's strength rather than the conditions at the R Premadasa Stadium.
Despite a greenish pitch, Bangladesh have not often used three seamers, and none of them in this attack guarantees control or wickets - none of the pace bowlers average less than 50, while the lowest strike-rate is 74.
"Rubel is fit, he will probably play. [But] we don't have experience of playing with three seamers, so we have to consider that," captain Mushfiqur Rahim said. "Everyone is fit, all sixteen players are ready for selection, unless someone pulls up tomorrow morning."
Rubel's return could see Shahadat Hossain - despite having the best bowling average and strike-rate among the bowlers - sitting out after he had taken just one wicket in the first Test. He bowled at decent pace up front with the new ball, but as the game moved on, his lack of fitness caught up with him and he struggled to bowl at the same pace at various stages of the match.
Abul Hasan, on the other hand, made an ordinary start before a notable spell on the second morning, although he had only one wicket to show for his effort. After only his second Test, Abul won praise from Kumar Sangakkara for his pace and is likely to keep his place for the Colombo Test. Robiul Islam is the other pace-bowling option in the squad, and the team management has him ready in case three pace bowlers are needed with Sohag Gazi playing as the only specialist spinner.
"Our bowling attack is relatively less experienced compared to our batting. We should give them some time, because players take time to adapt to Test cricket," Mushfiqur said. "The bowlers have to take up the challenge of bowling consistently in one area. Like our batting partnerships in the first Test, I want the bowlers to bowl in partnerships, bowling tightly from both ends."
The second spinner's spot is a toss-up between two left-arm spinnrs: Abdur Razzak, who has a better limited-overs record, and Elias Sunny, who hasn't lived up to his early promise in Test cricket. Razzak, the more experienced of the two, is likely to be selected ahead of Sunny, as he has the ability to offer the control that is being sought. He has been bowling well in the domestic competition and in ODI cricket, though the last time he bowled in a Test match was in August 2011.
The change at the top of the order is a lot more straightforward. Tamim's wrist injury had forced him out of the Galle Test but during the game and afterwards in Colombo, he batted regularly in the nets. Anamul Haque and Jahurul Islam opened the innings in the absence of Tamim. Given Jahurul's reasonably better performance, particularly in the second innings, the axe is likely to fall on Anamul.
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