September 5, 2001

Both sides make changes before inaugural Test

Top order batsman Michael Vandort, 21, looks set to make his Test debut in Sri Lanka's inaugural Test Match against Bangladesh and the second game of the Asian Test Championship at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground on Thursday.

Middle order batsman Russel Arnold will be axed after a disappointing Test run in which he has scored just two fifties in 24 innings.

The Asian Test Championship has been hit by the last-minute withdrawal of India and the first game proved to be a predictably one-sided affair, with Pakistan thrashing Bangladesh by an innings and 264 runs in Multan.

"In Zimbabwe we improved with every game we played, but we let ourselves down in Pakistan," admitted Bangladesh coach Trevor Chappell. "It was an excellent batting pitch and we failed to make use of it despite the fact that our batting is recognised as one of our major strengths.

Bangladesh have therefore decided to make two changes to the side, bringing in 16-year-old all rounder Mohammad Ashraful, who will make his Test debut, in place of experienced middle order batsman Akram Khan, 32, who made his last visit to Sri Lanka as the captain of the side for the Asia Cup One Day Tournament in 1997.

Khan has played in all four Bangladesh Test Matches, but has made only 161 runs in eight innings with an average of 20.12.

"He's an experienced player but he's been out of touch. So we decided to leave him out," said Chappell.

Bangladesh are also likely to bolster their batting by leaving out 35 year old left arm spinner Enamul Haque for 23-year-old right hand batsman Al Shahriar.

Sri Lanka have dropped right arm fast bowler Dulip Liyange after just one chance and his place is retaken by Ruchira Perera. Ravindra Puspakumara may also play if Dilhara Fernando fails to recover from a fitness Test.

Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya warned his players not to be complacent: "You cant' take them lightly even though they are a new side at Test level. If we relax we could create problems for ourselves so I am looking for a 100 per cent effort from the team."

The pitch looks similar to the one used in the third Test against Colombo. Ranil Abeynaike believes it will be marginally quicker in pace and will not deteriorate during the first three days.

Sri Lanka squad:

Sanath Jayasuriya (Capt), Marvan Atapattu, Michael Vandort, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Hashan Tillakaratne, Thilan Samaraweera, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ravindra Pushpakumara, Ruchira Perera, Russel Arnold, Avishka Gunawardene, Suresh Perera, Dilhara Fernando

Bangladesh squad:

Naimur Rahman (Capt), Javed Omar, Mehrab Hossain, Habibul Bashar, Aminul Islam, Akram Khan, Khaled Mashud (wk), Enamul Haque, Hasibul Hossain, Mohammad Sharif, Monjural Islam, Bikash Ranjan Das, Al Shahriar, Mohammad Ashraful

Match referee: John Reid
Umpire: MM Aslam
Umpire: RE Koertzen
Third Umpire: Riazuddin
Fourth Umpire: DN Pathirana

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