Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Colombo, 5th day March 19, 2017

Keep dreaming, little brother

This Bangladesh are crazy if they think they can beat Sri Lanka in their own den. Right?
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Who in Colombo would have thought it would turn out this way? © AFP

Ah, Bangladesh, come, come. How are you, little brother?

Is it still okay to call you little brother? I mean of course your country has a bigger economy and far more people, and you keep taking textile manufacturing contracts off our companies, but in cricket, you are still not that big, no? I don't mean to offend you, but you have to admit, you have never won a Test match against us. Remember how Sanga used to demoralise you, batting session after session after session, just tak-tak-tak? We must frame a photo of his backside and send it to all your wicketkeepers. They must be missing the sight.

Anyway, welcome. Sorry, the place is a little bit of a mess - we just got back from a rough time in South Africa. But listen, don't think we are not ready for you, ah. Did you hear we beat Australia last year? Sha! What a series. This is a young team, no? So, for now, they will struggle overseas. At home, of course, they are lions. You say you are tigers, but please don't be surprised if you have come to be the prey.

Yes, yes, we heard the Bangladesh team is getting better, but come on, it's all relative. Anyway, isn't it a Sri Lankan helping you out? See what I mean about you still being the little brother? Maybe some of our great players like Sanga, Mahela and Rangana liked this Chandika Hathurusingha guy, but you have to remember that he is still a reject from our coaching system, so we are still far ahead.

I'll tell you because maybe you don't know, but it's because he got sacked from the coaching staff in 2010 only that the fellow had to go to Australia. Then when there was an opening for the Sri Lanka job in 2014, he had again said he was available, but our big shot fellows like Sanath Jayasuriya had turned him right down.

Obviously, that shows we don't need him here, doesn't it? Some people say there was political interference and this and that, but we have more than enough good coaches. Why get too upset over one guy who thought he was too good to play the system like everyone else?

And okay, you are saying you have some decent domestic cricket? Then how many teams? Only eight? All four-day cricket, ah? Twelve matches a season per player? Actually, that is not bad. Look, to be very honest with you, ours isn't in good shape right now. We have 14 teams mostly playing three-dayers, and another nine first-class teams got added in a second tier this season.

And fine, everybody knows that having 250 domestic players a week is not ideal for a country this size. New Zealand have five teams, apparently. Australia have only six. But what to do men? Normal political stuff, no? The clubs control the votes, and our board administrators also have to get elected, isn't it? They also have families to feed, and brown-nosing lackeys to pay off. How will they survive without big fat travel junkets and business class seats for their big fat butts?

But still, even with this system, even if we don't really have senior cricket in our provinces, don't worry Bangladesh, we are still better than you.

Come to the board office if you don't believe me, and look at the World Cup we have won. See all the trophies we have from the time Murali was playing. There's a reason we produce cricketers like him, ah - unlike you, we have cricket in our blood. Did you see how many people came to the Royal-Thomian school match last weekend? You can't even dream of having anything like that, can you? If you have a cricket culture like ours, then why bother so much about first-class cricket, men? They say our board president Thilanga Sumathipala is just using SLC as a political tool, but let them say what they want. We will always be strong. Look around, will you? See all the talent that we have.

Okay, to be fair, maybe in one area, we don't have that much talent at the moment. I'll mention it because it was talked about before the series and all: we do tend to drop a lot of catches, and leak runs. And fine, our foreign coach Graham Ford even said it was a deep-rooted problem and that the players coming through to the top level are way below the standard.

But you know how these people exaggerate, no? Maybe for now some of our fielders treat the ball like a pretty girl and dance around it instead of stopping it, but I'm sure they'll get better eventually. It's temporary - Sri Lanka are the most naturally athletic team in the continent, and it's only been bad for six months. Well… one year. Okay, two years. But come on, that's irrelevant. What are you talking? It's not like it will cost us a game against you!

Look, honestly, this conversation is getting boring. Are you hung up on all our flaws because you think you can target them? Do you think our team looks vulnerable because an entire generation of batsmen failed at the top level? Just get lost, men. So what if the top-order is inexperienced? So what if you think we are over-reliant on one spin bowler? We'll show you our natural ability. We'll show you with our culture, and our flair, and just like Australia, we'll put you away with a smile.

Don't get too big for your boots here Bangladesh! Keep dreaming. You have never beaten us. We all know you never will.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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  • Indiplay187 on March 22, 2017, 19:14 GMT

    Still SL is a good team and BD is a much improved team, SL is undergoing through transition period and BD is improving day by day in my view they both are teams of almost same strength so BIG question is can we see a "SUB-CONTINENT ASHES" from now on? Tell you what that would be a great series to watch like Ashes, Border Gavaskar trophy. I am really looking forward to it, are you?

  • Funtopia on March 22, 2017, 2:10 GMT

    Ah, the big sigh. The reminiscence of sweet glory. The agony of decaying pride. The bitter comparison of compatibility. The outburst against imperfection. The incommodious presence of stranger in forbidden kingdom. The re-hope of revival. The warning to wanderer.The commitment of counter-march. The sharpest sword of words that can cut both the side in half. A tremendously well written sharp-witted narration where one can smell the burning of a phoenix to the ASHES from where another one rise. So, why don't we start a series between these two discordant that will occur every year and instead of calling it "ASHES" we will call it "PHOENIX".

  • cricfan0731566807 on March 21, 2017, 7:07 GMT

    Dear Big Brother! we are (BD) very much grateful to support our cricket! But we love to defeat u again n again.... :)

  • cricfan6354963572 on March 21, 2017, 3:56 GMT

    See you in one ODI bro,Hope that Srilankan team can save Our Famous BANGLAWASH.

  • cricfan0102944627 on March 21, 2017, 1:37 GMT

    Dear Sri-Lanka, First of all, thank you for what you arranged for the Tigers before the beginning of the 100th test. Shows the true character of SL cricket. Being a Bangladeshi, I love BD more than anyone else. But don't get me wrong. I have seen Sanga,Jaya giving us trouble for a long time. Do you know what we call BD Crocket now? SL of '96. Yes we had beaten you in your home soil. But wasn't it expected to have a good fight? I think it was and it will be for ODI and T20 too. You are broken for the loss to BD. But over the years, we have struggled and have come here. Good luck to the SL for the ODI and T20 series. May the best predator win the series.......... Love from #Bangladesh

  • cricfan0178602208 on March 20, 2017, 21:33 GMT

    Excellent writing my Sri Lankan brother and I'm also sorry on behalf of some of my country men who couldn't find the sarcasm behind it.

  • Bang_La on March 20, 2017, 21:03 GMT

    Dear Big brother, why Sri Lankan media, test captain and most supporters are reacting in such fashion, especially what Herath said that a loss to Bangladesh is the worst of all losses really made me hot around my collar. Didn't expect Herath in such shoes. The truth is, Bangladesh played better in every department and hence won. And well, now the Bangladesh players know, especially the cubs know that Sri Lanka is not invincible. Better tighten your loose clothes in the ODIs and T20s.

  • cricfan4898987955 on March 20, 2017, 18:30 GMT

    very well written. Used to be a fan of the great srilankan team. Hope they overcome the difficulties soon and be great again

  • cricinfoOG on March 20, 2017, 18:06 GMT

    Nicely written article, Andrew! Hopefully the message will resonate with our SL cricket board and the government to have less influence in the future for the betterment of this great game.

  •   Tareeq Masood Qureshi on March 20, 2017, 15:26 GMT

    Good read....been SL fan from Bangladesh since 1996, the era of great Aravinda n Ranatunga.....loved to watch Sanga and Mahela play as well...yeah the flair is gone now....hope the nxt gen brings up greats like those again....Cheers....and GO TIGERS

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