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Mustafizur returns for Sri Lanka Tests

Mustafizur Rahman's previous Test appearance for Bangladesh was in August 2015 AFP

Fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman has returned to Bangladesh's Test squad for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, along with pace bowler Rubel Hossain. Opener Imrul Kayes will miss the two-match series, which starts from March 7, due to a thigh injury.

Bangladesh had omitted Mustafizur from the squad for the one-off Test against India earlier this month, as the team management felt the bowler was not yet 100% fit for a return to five-day cricket. Mustafizur had undergone shoulder surgery in August last year, after picking up an injury while playing for Sussex. He was selected for the New Zealand tour in December-January, and played four limited-overs matches before being ruled out of the two Tests due to a hamstring injury. The bowler has played only two Tests in his career so far - in the home series against South Africa in July-August 2015.

Mustafizur went back to Bangladesh's first-class competition, playing two rounds of the Bangladesh Cricket League, and his bowling spells in the matches convinced Bangladesh's chief selector, Minhajul Abedin, that the bowler was ready for the full tour.

"I am really impressed with the way he bowled in the second innings. I think he got back his rhythm," Minhajul had noted last week.

Mustafizur has replaced Shafiul Islam from the squad that traveled to India. Imrul had also been named in the team for the Hyderabad Test but withdrew after hurting his thigh in the tour match against India A, a recurrence of the injury that had kept him out of the Christchurch Test last month. Mosaddek Hossain, who flew to India as cover for Imrul, has been picked for the Sri Lanka Tests. Minhajul said on Tuesday that Imrul could be added to the squad for the second Test if he proves his fitness in the next round of the Bangladesh Cricket League, which starts from February 26. Imrul is playing the current round for South Zone and scored 31 on the opening day of their match against North Zone.

Rubel had also missed the Hyderabad Test, losing his place to Shafiul after returns of 0 for 65 in Christchurch where Bangladesh lost by nine wickets. However, the bowler did well in the Bangladesh Cricket League, taking ten wickets in two matches for South Zone.

The first Test will be played from March 7 in Galle, while the second match in Colombo, which starts from March 15, will be Bangladesh's 100th in the format.

Bangladesh Test squad Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam, Mehedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mosaddek Hossain, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Subashis Roy, Rubel Hossain.