A new Prime Minister in the country, a new cricket coach and a host of newcomers in the Test side. Sri Lanka, on and off the field, are making a new start, of sorts. They take on a Bangladesh side that is keen to restore some parity in 2022, where they have blown hot and cold, so far.
All these changes would put a lot of onus on Dimuth Karunaratne, their captain, and also, the highest run-scorer for Sri Lanka in the last two years. The likes of Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva would bank on their recent experience in Bangladesh’s domestic competition. The left-arm spin duo of Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama will form their bowling arsenal against a home side that is doubting itself against spin recently.
Mominul Haque has to find his form, end his lengthy run drought in Chattogram. As a captain, he will have tough decisions to make in his bowling attack, given Bangladesh are without their key bowlers Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Taskin Ahmed, and, Shakib’s bowling is unlikely to be in full capacity.
(Last five completed matches; most recent first)
Sri Lanka LLWWW
In the spotlight
Shakib is likely to bat at No 7, but the big decision will be who replaces Mehidy Hasan Miraz. Mosaddek Hossain might be a safe choice at No 8, as he offers a bit of batting and can bowl 12-15 overs a day. Picking Nayeem Hasan or going with a three-man pace attack would be a bold move from a Bangladesh perspective.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Mahmudul Hasan Joy, 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Mominul Haque (capt), 5 Mushfiqur Rahim, 6 Litton Das (wk), 7 Shakib Al Hasan, 8 Nayeem Hasan/Mosaddek Hossain, 9 Taijul Islam, 10 Shoriful Islam, 11 Ebadot Hossain
Sri Lanka will have to make at least three changes to the side that played the second Test against India in Bengaluru. They could drop Dinesh Chandimal to pick an extra bowling option in Ramesh Mendis or Chamika Karunaratne.
Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), 2 Oshada Fernando, 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Angelo Mathews, 5 Dhananjaya de Silva, 6 Dinesh Chandimal/Ramesh Mendis, 7 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 8 Lasith Embuldeniya, 9 Kasun Rajitha/Asitha Fernando, 10 Praveen Jayawickrama, 11 Vishwa Fernando
Pitch and conditions
Stats and trivia
“We have to play well over five days. We have to dominate the game. We are not worried about the opponents.”
Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque when asked about his side’s inability to play well in the latter stages of a Test match .
“That’s a big advantage for us. Naweed Nawaz has been with the Under-19 side for a few years, but he knows the conditions so we can get some ideas from him. But I don’t think the previous years’ results have any bearing on this series. I think we have to play good from ball one up to day five. I don’t think we’ve won in Chittagong, even though we’ve won most of the matches in Dhaka. So I think we need to make a change to start off on a winning note here.”
Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne speaks about their new assistant coach who is a Under-19 World Cup winner for Bangladesh.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84