Bangladesh look to build on recent ODI success
March 23, Hambantota
Start time 1430 local (0830GMT)
As much as this series is Sri Lanka's preparation for the Champions Trophy in England, they would be wary of slipping up against Bangladesh. The visitors' last ODI appearance was a series win at home against West Indies.
A consistently confident Bangladesh team is still uncommon, but in one-dayers they are a hungry young side on the hunt to topple a higher-ranked team. They had success in that regard last year and this three-ODI series, their first of 2013, will be a way to build on that confidence.
Bangladesh were Asia Cup runners-up in April last year and then beat West Indies in December. They hardly played one-day cricket in between but it is a format they are comfortable with, more than Tests or Twenty20. Their captain Mushfiqur Rahim has been the team's top-scorer in the last 12 months and, alongside his deputy Mahmudullah, has to shoulder the batting responsibility. Tamim Iqbal, returning from injury, wasn't in good form against West Indies and needs to make a good start to this series.
In the bowling department, Bangladesh will miss two of their most influential players: Shakib Al Hasan and Mashrafe Mortaza. In their absence Abdur Razzak will have to lead an inexperienced attack. Bangladesh are also without Nazmul Hossain, who was ruled out of the series after suffering a knee injury while training in Colombo on Wednesday.
For the hosts, Angelo Mathews leads a relatively young side, but for the first match at least Sri Lanka are likely to pick their best XI, leaving the experiments for after they have a lead. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara are the pillars of the batting line-up, but Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne and Kithuruwan Vithanage will be exciting to watch.
Form guide(most recent first)
Sri Lanka: LNWWL
In the spotlight
Dinesh Chandimal has played 15 out of his 50 ODIs at home, but averages only 16 in them. Only one of his nine half-centuries has come in Sri Lanka, so he has an opportunity to improve on that unusual record.
Mahmudullah was one of the main performers when Bangladesh beat West Indies. He averages 88 in his last six ODIs but his form in the Test series in Sri Lanka has caused concern. He is known for going through the occasional dip in form, and Bangladesh hope he can come out of it quickly.
Kushal Perera, who played in the ODI series in Australia, is likely to be picked. Kumar Sangakkara will take Mahela Jayawardene's spot, while offspinner Sachitra Senanayake is likely to replace Rangana Herath, who has been rested.
Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Kushal Perera, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Lahiru Thirimanne, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Angelo Mathews (capt), 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Kulasekera, 10 Sachitra Senanayake, 11 Lasith Malinga.
Pace bowling remains a concern for Mushfiqur Rahim as Bangladesh go into the game without Mashrafe Mortaza. He has options like the left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain and big-hitting allrounder Ziaur Rahman, but Bangladesh are likely to retain a playing eleven that is close to the team that beat West Indies in December, though Shafiul Islam isn't in the tour party.
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Anamul Haque, 3 Mohammad Ashraful, 4 Mahmudullah, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 6 Mominul Haque/Ziaur Rahman, 7 Nasir Hossain, 8 Sohag Gazi, 9 Abul Hasan, 10 Abdur Razaak, 11 Rubel Hossain.
Pitch and conditions
The pitch in Hambantota has a tinge of green and, given the record at this venue, it is likely to be a factor once again. The wind blowing from the east and west sides of the ground will also be a factor. Batsmen, however, have been comfortable at the ground, with the average run rate being around five runs an over.
Stats and Trivia
- Bangladesh won the last game between these two two sides, during the Asia Cup. It was their third win in 30 ODIs.
- Kumar Sangakkara needs 149 runs to become the highest run-getter for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh in ODIs. He is already the highest scorer in Tests against Bangladesh.
"When you look at the team, everyone is committed to being a professional. So that makes my job as captain easy, because they all know how to get the best out of themselves."
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews.
"We are a much better ODI team. We haven't played well abroad, so that's the concern. But we are looking ahead to the opportunity."
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent