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Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh 2nd Test Preview: Toss a crucial factor with lively surface in the offing at Pallekele

Bangladesh's Mominul Haque
Bangladesh's Mominul Haque
©Sri Lanka Cricket / Bangladesh Cricket

The series opener between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka was the first time a test match ended in a draw on Sri Lankan soil after 28 straight results.

LIVE - Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh - 2nd Test

A run fest or bowler's graveyard?

The first test match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh turned out to be a boring affair. Sri Lankan coach Russell Domingo later conceded that it was a tactical mistake on the part of the Sri Lankan team management as they ideated to dish out a pitch with pace and bounce that would assist the Sri Lankan pacers, who are far more experienced than their Bangladesh counterparts.

Sri Lanka, who have been preparing spinning wickets over the last few years, decided to go with a hard surface as they were wary of Bangladesh's spin prowess with the likes of Mehidy Hasan and Taijul Islam more than capable of doing a lot of damage.

But, in the heat of Pallekele, the pitch turned out to be a pancake and the batsmen had a ball. 

Nazmul Hossain Shanto was the top scorer for Bangladesh and made his career best of 163 off 378 balls. Captain Mominul Haque also struck his first century outside Bangladesh with 127 off 304 deliveries.

Bowlers bowl heart out

The Sri Lankan bowlers fought hard but with little success. Vishwa Fernando was the top wicket taker for Sri Lanka, picking up 4 wickets while conceding 96 runs in the first innings.

In reply to Bangladesh's 541/7, Sri Lanka went even further on the back of a double century from captain Dimuth Karunaratne, who made 244. All-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva also struck 166.

As Sri Lanka declared for 648/8 from 179 overs, Taskin Ahmed and Taijul Islam shared 5 wickets between them.

There was a slight wobble for Bangladesh when they lost two wickets quickly, but Tamim Iqbal's breezy 98-ball 74 pulled back things in control as the match ended in a draw.

Expect some grass

Bangladesh are hopeful of a sporting pitch for the second test.

"It could be a seam-friendly track, it could be a spinning track, but it definitely shouldn't be a flat wicket like this one (the wicket of the first Test) and even the Sri Lankans didn't appreciate this wicket. I'm very sorry for the bowlers in both the teams, as there was literally nothing in the wicket to bowl at. Although we are experienced in the spin department, their pace attack was far more experienced than ours and still, they couldn't pick wickets."

"I don't think I should do an evaluation after just one match, but I want the boys to be consistent, I want them to play consistently good from here on, but I believe in them, as we have another match in this series, and then we'll go to Zimbabwe, so I want this to become a proper Test team. If we continuously play better cricket for a long time, keep drawing matches on a regular basis, batsmen can bat with responsibility, then we'd start to learn about winning Test matches regularly in the coming days,'' Bangladesh's Khaled Mahmud said ahead of the match.

Karunaratne echoes Bangladesh's sentiments

As pointed out in the post-match presentation by the Sri Lankan captain, a surface with a lot more help for bowlers, either spinners or pacers, is expected in the second test match.

Given the ability of the Bangladesh spin attack, the surface at Pallekele for the second test match is likely to assist the pace bowlers.

Toss key in second test

This makes the toss a very crucial factor, with the team winning the toss likely to bowl first. The side can thus prize out a few early wickets and place itself in the driver's seat.

While Bangladesh are expected to be unchanged, Sri Lanka will have to make a forced change. Lahiru Kumara did not come out to bowl on day 3 of the 1st test due to injury and Asitha Fernando is expected to replace the pacer in the Sri Lankan playing XI.

Let's have a look at the probable playing XIs:

Sri Lanka
- Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Pathum Nissanka, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Wanindu Hasaranga, Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando

Bangladesh - Tamim Iqbal, Saif Hassan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque (c), Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das (wk), Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Jayed, Ebadot Hossain

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