Monday 17 November 2008 

Bangladesh Ready For Opening Test In Bloemfontein

Bangladesh Ready For Opening Test In Bloemfontein
Bangladesh Ready For Opening Test In Bloemfontein
© REUTERS/Andrew Biraj (BANGLADESH) Picture Supplied by Action Images
With renewed confidence from the two-day practice match at Kimberley the Bangladesh team arrived in Bloemfontein today for the first Test of the two-match series against South Africa that gets underway on Wednesday.

With the first Test coming up captain Mohammad Ashraful thought the players were becoming more confident in their abilities.

"In the two day match most of the top-order batsmen got runs and we took ten SAA Challenge XI wickets in under two sessions. There are positives on which we can build although the opposition may not have been that strong," Ashraful said. "Our goal was to play sessions and we achieved that. It is a whole new ball game when you face South Africa but scoring runs against a side which had decent first class players also helps when you prepare for sterner tests."

Wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim top-scored with 89 while opener Imrul Kayes hit 87 in Bangladesh's 375. Ashraful chipped in with 48 while Tamim Iqbal and Naeem Islam got into the 30s. The Challenge XI scored 265 and 74 for 2.

"I still feel that one or two should have gone on to a hundred or more. It was a good wicket to bat on but movement was available to the seamers throughout. I believe the Test match pitches will also be similar in nature. The weather in both Kimberley and Bloemfontein has been brilliant which is also very good for us," Ashraful added.

The Tigers captain also lauded the effort of fast bowler Shahadat Hossain who took five wickets in the match including three in 10 balls in the Challenge XI first innings.

"He really stepped up in the absence of Mashrafe (Mortaza) and bowled his heart out. But we need all the bowlers to keep hitting the right areas which did not happen consistently in the two-dayer. Hopefully we will have Mash back for the Test match because you need your best bowlers to fire in big matches."

Mortaza was rested in the practice game to allow more time to recover from a sore back. The Bangladesh vice-captain bowled off a short run in the nets on Sunday and is receiving treatment from the physio.

"The back feels better and the stiffness is gradually receding. Hopefully I can finish a full practice session tomorrow (Tuesday) and then see what happens," said Mortaza.

The players session in the afternoon at the team hotel after their arrival here. Tomorrow they train at the Outsurance Oval.

Meanwhile paceman Sajedul Islam reached Johannesburg today morning to replace Syed Rasel who is flying back home later tonight. Sajedul is expected to fly into Bloemfontein to join the squad in the evening. Earlier today, left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak completed the independent analysis of his bowling action in Australia's Canberra and is scheduled to reach Johannesburg tomorrow. He will miss the first Test.

© Bangladesh Cricket Board