Match factsWednesday June 25, 2008
Start time 16.00 (local) 10.00 (GMT)
Big PictureBangladesh's convincing 96-run win over UAE in their tournament opener will boost their confidence, but over the last year both teams have been desperately searching for success since excellent World Cup campaigns. Sri Lanka reached the final of that tournament, but their form has slumped considerably over the last year - they've lost 12 out of 22 games, while three of their eight wins were against Bangladesh at home. During this period, they've lost an ODI series at home to England, been knocked out of the triangular CB Series before the finals, and been beaten 2-0 by West Indies.
Bangladesh's World Cup heroics - they beat India and South Africa and made it to the Super Eights - suggested that they might have turned a corner, but subsequent events have confirmed their Caribbean capers were only a flash in the pan: leave aside three wins against Ireland and one against UAE in their Asia Cup opener, and Bangladesh have lost 18 out of 18 since that tournament. Fifteen of those defeats have been by margins of at least five wickets or 50 runs, which indicates they haven't even been competitive against the top sides.
Sri Lanka will go into Wednesday's clash as huge favourites, and not just because of their Asia Cup record: they have won the tournament three times, and have never lost to Bangladesh in seven encounters. Under Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh have slipped back to their old, erratic ways. They romped to a comfortable win against UAE, but the Sri Lankans will be an altogether different challenge. For Sri Lanka, it's an opportunity to regain their winning momentum before the tougher challenges that await them later in the tournament.
Form guide(Last 5 completed ODIs; most recent first)
Sri Lanka LLWLL
Watch out for ...Raqibul Hasan: A handy middle-order batsman, 20-year-old Raqibul has already scored three half-centuries in ten ODIs, including two 80-plus scores in his last two innings.
Kumar Sangakkara was in sparkling form in the IPL, but hasn't topped 33 in his last six ODI innings and is due a big score.
Ajantha Mendis had confused the West Indian batting line-up during the ODIs there, and in conditions expected to favour spin, Bangladesh could well be his next victim.
Team newsBoth teams are missing a couple of important players. Sri Lanka are without Lasith Malinga and Farveez Maharoof, both of whom are nursing injuries. Bangladesh, meanwhile, are missing two important batsmen - Aftab Ahmed has a finger injury, while Shakib Al Hasan, their most prolific batsman in the series against Pakistan, has skipped the tournament to sit for academic exams.
The absences will offer opportunities to others to prove themselves at the international level: Nuwan Kulasekara, who played the ODIs in the West Indies, should get another chance, while the return of Dilhara Fernando, who missed that tour, will add bite to the bowling attack.
Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Mahela Udawatte, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 5 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 6 Chamara Kapugedera, 7 Kaushalya Weeraratne, 8 Chaminda Vaas, 9 Dilhara Fernando, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Nuwan Kulasekara.
The unavailability of Shakib should give another opportunity to Alok Kapali, the 24-year-old allrounder who was away from international cricket for almost two years before playing in the Kitply Cup earlier this month.
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Nazimuddin, 3 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 4 Raqibul Hasan, 5 Alok Kapali, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 8 Dolar Mahmud, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza, 10 Abdur Razzak, 11 Shahadat Hossain.
Stats and trivia
Quotes"In a short tournament of two weeks the momentum is very important. We have to make sure we have that momentum going because things can happen so quickly. We need to make sure we respect them [Bangladesh] for who they are and play a proper game."
Mahela Jayawardene dismisses all talk of complacency and wants his players to be ready for battle from the first ball.
"If we can regularly score 240, which we rarely do, we can be competitive and hopefully win a few games."
Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, spells out the gameplan for his team.
"I knew it was a matter of time before I returned to form and I hope this form remains with me in the tougher games to come because we want to do well in this Asia Cup."
After scoring his second ODI century against UAE, Mohammad Ashraful wants to repeat the performance against stronger teams
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo