Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Colombo March 15, 2013

Sri Lanka mull change in bowling strategy


Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews suggested his side needed to stray from their traditional Test match strategy at home to give themselves the best chance of beating Bangladesh in the second Test starting tomorrow at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Sri Lanka have depended on their spin bowling in home Tests in the past and have generally played on pitches conducive to turn early in the match. But a strong batting performance from Bangladesh in the first Test, during which they played the hosts' two frontline spinners with ease, and a Premadasa pitch likely to favour seam bowlers has made Mathews rethink his options.

In the last 17 home Tests, Sri Lanka have played only twice with fewer than two frontline slow bowlers in the side.

"We have to take 20 wickets to win a Test match and have to think how we are going to take those 20 wickets," Mathews said. "We have to go with a plan. When teams like Australia, England and New Zealand come to Sri Lanka, we get a lot of pitches that help spin bowlers, but I think Bangladesh play spin bowling well. We have to take stock of that situation."

Mathews said the pitch in Galle did not offer any assistance to bowlers, as batsmen amassed 1613 runs in the Test, but expected the pitch for the second Test to be better for the fast bowlers, stressing that the bowlers needed to be positive. The track has a thin layer of grass on the eve of the match and has also been better for fast bowlers since it was re-laid in 2010.

"It looks a very good sporting wicket - a seamer-friendly wicket. When you play against Bangladesh, you need to try and be as positive as you can," he said. "There is a possibility of an additional seamer coming in, but we haven't finalised our XI yet.

Mathews said Sri Lanka had worked on building a battery of reliable bowlers, and would not look to make drastic changes to the attack, despite its ineffectiveness during the first Test. "We haven't changed our bowling department in the recent past," he said. "When it comes Nuwan Kulasekara, Shaminda Eranga and Rangana Herath, they have always been there in the Test matches. It's not a case of us cutting and chopping. Herath will be our number one spinner and, if we opt for three seamers, Ajantha Mendis will probably sit out."

"We can't play one less batsman, because everyone is pretty set in their position. We have tried a couple of young batters and they have lived up to our expectations. We'll play four genuine bowlers."

Mathews stressed there was no additional pressure on the side after Bangladesh drew the first Test, having lost on all the previous occasions they had played Sri Lanka in Tests. "There's not really any added pressure. As I said before the first Test, Bangladesh have played some really good cricket in the recent past. They are a dangerous side and we can't underestimate them."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

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  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2013, 1:46 GMT

    Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews suggested his side needed to stray from their traditional Test match strategy at home to give themselves the best chance of beating Bangladesh in the second Test

  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2013, 1:42 GMT

    We should't underestimate each other.As a Bangladeshi supporter i also like Srilanka team because of their attitude and calmness. I know Srilanka is good team but we have a chance of self improvement.Best wishes for BD team.

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    lucky Lankans! without the number one all rounder Sakib and also no mushrafi and shariar, and nayem! yet Bangladesh fought like real tigers!

  • Bayzid on March 15, 2013, 21:36 GMT

    @Htc-Android.....I wish if Mash were not injured.....then you might see for your self....

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2013, 20:58 GMT

    Happy to see Sri Lanka is thinking to change their age-old test strategy at home for the so-called minnow Bangladesh! Bangladesh will also do well regularly in test cricket like they are now doing in shorter formats. Best of luck Bengal Tigers.

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2013, 19:50 GMT

    I had this strategy in back of my mind when BD touring SL,cuz our young batsman like Chandimal,Thirimanna,Dimuth all had really good experince in fast wickets when they travel to SA & AUS also the scored heavily in test as well as onedays.So the fast bowling pitches will make BD mouth a full stop since they are weak in any pace attack.

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2013, 19:50 GMT

    Last test was superbly played by Bangla tiger brothers. Go tigers like last time. First Bangladeshi to score 200 wow in an international test. Tigers go maul again.

  • kdevil on March 15, 2013, 15:41 GMT

    HA HA ....Mathews Re-think of your flat pitches made for our batsmen record .Not our bowling strategy. I think SLC is afraid to make turning tracks because Bangladesh has good spin bowling options.

  • Jonny on March 15, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    Hopefully Bangladesh will teach Sri Lanka a lesson.

  • associate cricket fan on March 15, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    @Azraf Anam Chowdhury. One or two good perfomances does not make him dale steyn. he needs consistency. Although our pace attack is poor, I would still say any of our pacers are better than mortaza.

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