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Mohammad Isam in Colombo
March 15, 2013
Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain, has called upon his senior players to make use of the rare opportunity to succeed against a higher-ranked side, ahead of the second Test in Colombo. The top order that was led by two inexperienced players in Galle will be bolstered by the return of Tamim Iqbal. The team may also include veteran left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak.
Senior batsman Mohammad Ashraful, who had a memorable return to Test cricket, scoring 190, will continue to be a vital cog in the middle order along with vice-captain Mahmudullah, who didn't contribute much in the first Test.
"We have the opportunity [to draw the series], but it is still five days away," Mushfiqur said. "These opportunities don't come to us often. I think it is good to be under pressure, because the best players perform under pressure. I see it as a positive sign because some of our top players play well under pressure."
"The expectation would be to play consistent cricket. The last Test is history. We will take positives from that game. We made mistakes in the bowling and fielding departments."
The mistakes he referred to are the dropped catches and the inconsistent lines and lengths their bowlers bowled. The worry among many in the Bangladesh management is whether their seamers would have the stamina to bowl at their strongest throughout the day.
Mushfiqur is mindful of the challenges ahead, and although he mainly outlined those that they face internally, he was aware that the pitch at the R Premadasa Stadium might aid the bowlers.
"It was almost expected that if they can't get us on a spinning track, they will prepare a green wicket. They will also have to play on this wicket, so the problems will be similar for them," Mushfiqur said.
"There is some live grass in the wicket, that's why the seamers will get purchase from it. But I don't think it will last for all the five days, probably the first day or two. In that case, the new ball will be very crucial.
"If they put us in, we have to get set against the new ball and [then] there will be plenty of runs in the track. If we bowl first, we will take some early wickets hopefully and put the pressure back on them."
He was also eager to have another go at Kumar Sangakkara, who struck twin centuries in the first Test. "We have some plans for [Tillekaratne] Dilshan and [Kumar] Sangakkara, so let's see if we can manage to get them dismissed early.
"Sangakkara is a legend, he's done well against us and other teams regardless. He has played very well in the first Test but there were a few chances which we didn't grab. I think those made the big difference, so if we get another chance, we must take it," he said.
In due course, however, Mushfiqur understands where his real challenge lies: to make sure the team does exactly what it did in its last match, which hasn't happened in the past.
On four previous occasions when they did draw a first Test of a series, they went on to lose the second one. To prevent the Galle performance being perceived as a flash in the pan, they would have to back it up in Colombo.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondentFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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