As was the case when Sri Lanka last played a Test match in Dhaka
, they have a secret weapon up their sleeve this time too.
Back in 2018, it was Chandika Hathurusingha
, who switched jobs from Bangladesh to Sri Lanka head coach barely months before the tour. This time, it is Naveed Nawaz
, the assistant coach of the touring side, who is in his first job in the senior circuit after serving as Bangladesh's Under-19 coach for four years. In fact, he was one of the architects of Bangladesh's Under-19 World Cup triumph in 2020.
, Sri Lanka's new head coach, has leant on Nawaz to give him intel on the Shere Bangla National Stadium pitch, coincidentally curated by Gamini Silva, the former Sri Lankan umpire who is often maligned in the Bangladesh media for dishing out only raging turners.
"I haven't seen this wicket, but I do have someone who you all know is in my coaching staff, who knows these conditions," Silverwood said ahead of their training session on the eve of the second Test.
"I will speak to my assistant coach so that we fully understand how this wicket will play. We will be using his knowledge from his time in Bangladesh, and the statistics of this ground to make sure the captain has the best possible bowling attack to exploit the conditions."
Sri Lanka hired Nawaz ahead of this tour, having even briefly considered him as head coach; such has his reputation grown from being a development coach since retiring from his playing days.
The Dhaka pitch's characteristics make it a hot topic of discussion ahead of every Test. What has become apparent is that the home side have been beaten by their own strategy of preparing turning pitches in the last 12 months. West Indies in 2021
, and Pakistan late last year
beat Bangladesh with the help of spin and patient batting, ideas which Sri Lanka will definitely try to apply this week.
Silverwood said that the two teams fought a close contest in Chattogram
last week - closer than the result showed - but the game will have a faster pace in Dhaka, for which they will have to be prepared to react quickly.
"I don't think this is going to be an easy game at all. Both teams want to win this game," he said. "I think the last game was a close-fought contest. The momentum swung both ways; rapidly at times. Bangladesh had us on the ropes at times.
"We had to fight back hard to make sure that we got back into the game. I think this will be similar. The game will go forward at a quicker pace. We have to be ready for that. I am looking forward to some exciting cricket."
Meanwhile, Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque
has a lot on his plate. Apart from his own poor batting form and attempt to revive his captaincy, he has to pick a bowling attack that is ravaged by injuries to Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Nayeem Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz.
And while Mominul has two frontline spinners in Shakib Al Hasan
and Taijul Islam
, Bangladesh have traditionally picked three specialist spinners in Dhaka.
Mominul suggested that Mosaddek Hossain
, considered a batting allrounder in red-ball cricket, is likely to feature in the XI. However, he also hinted that they might go in with three seamers.
"Looking at our spin department, Taijul has been doing well in the last one or two years," Mominul said. "Shakib bhai bowled well in the last match. If Mosaddek plays, he will have a different role. We have to use him intelligently. But I am confident that with Taijul and Shakib bhai alongside me [as a part-time spinner], we will get over this situation.
"I don't know if I have ever led with one pacer. I don't think we will just have one seamer. There might be three seamers. Taskin was bowling well, while Shoriful was contributing to the Test team. It is a huge opportunity for those who will replace them. We can have a look at them as well. As a captain, I want a big group of fast bowlers who have healthy competition among them."
"I thought Kasun and Asitha were excellent... the way that they continued, the heart and fight that they showed was exceptional"
Sri Lanka head coach Chris Silverwood is pleased with his quicks' performance in Chattogram
Meanwhile, Vishwa Fernando
's availability for Sri Lanka remains uncertain after he missed most of the Chattogram Test due to a blow to the head while batting, giving Sri Lanka a selection headache of their own ahead of the game.
Sri Lanka have all the cards close to their chest, but Kasun Rajitha
and Asitha Fernando
gave a great account of themselves by bowling all-out, hostile spells in the back-end of the Bangladesh innings in Chattogram.
"I thought Kasun and Asitha were excellent. I thought the way that they continued, the heart and fight that they showed - in what was a flat wicket - was exceptional," Silverwood said. "Kasun bowled well. He got movement on a flat deck. He held his line and length beautifully. He got rewarded too. I was really pleased with how the seamers bowled. I thought we got better in all departments as time went on.
"There is [the possibility of changing the XI from Chattogram]. Looking at the statistics, we will select a squad that gives us all the options whether that's picking one seamer or whichever way we decide to go. We will make sure there are plenty of options for the captain in that squad for tomorrow morning."