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It's time for Bangladesh to roar in Tests as well

  • Published at 10:13 pm March 4th, 2017
  • Last updated at 06:25 pm April 3rd, 2017
It's time for Bangladesh to roar in Tests as well
Riding on Tamim Iqbal's 136 and Mominul Haque and Liton Kumar Das' fifties, Bangladesh posted 391 runs for seven wickets before declaring their innings. In reply, Sri Lanka Cricket President's XI registered 403/7 with Taskin Ahmed leading the way with three wickets. Mustafizur Rahman picked up two wickets. However, the real challenge is lying ahead as Bangladesh have a realistic chance of winning Test matches against the somewhat less-experienced Lankans. The home side are undergoing some sort of a transition period with legendary players like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan hanging up their boots. The Lankans experienced a tough time against South Africa recently while regular skipper Angelo Mathews was dropped for the Bangladesh Tests. So it is perhaps the perfect time for the Tigers to show their maturity in the Test arena and register a positive outcome against the relatively inexperienced Lankans. As far as experience is concerned, Bangladesh players have plenty. Seniors players in the form of Tamim (47 Tests), Shakib al Hasan (47 Tests), Mushfiqur Rahim (52 Tests), Mahmudullah (32 Tests) and Mominul (21 Tests) have played enough number of Tests to labelled “experienced”. These players have to step up to the occasion in order to clinch a Test win as Bangladesh are yet to make a mark in the longer version of the game. [caption id="attachment_50446" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Mominul Haque plays a shot during their two-day warm-up game against Sri Lanka Cricket President's XI in Moratuwa AFP[/caption] Questions are often asked as to whether Bangladesh get enough opportunities to play Tests. But after two Tests in New Zealand and one against India, this series comes at just the right time for Bangladesh to show the world that they have improved significantly, just like in the limited-over formats. Bangladesh's bowling may be inexperienced, with Taksin and Mustafizur just starting their careers, but there is plenty of experience in the batting department. One big hundred, a five-wicket haul or playing for a draw are not good enough any more for Bangladesh. They have to play for a win now. Individual brilliance is required but a collective team effort is needed to win Tests, and that’s what Bangladesh have to do in the upcoming series. Bangladesh have a slight advantage as three big names in their coaching staff – head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, batting cocah Thilan Samaraweera and strength and conditioning coach Mario Villavarayan – are all Sri Lankans. Mushfiq was asked to quit keeping and concentrate more on his batting. That’s a good move for him and the team as well. It will be interesting to see if Liton takes the wicket-keeping role in place of Mushfiq. In that case, one batsman has to be dropped from the playing XI. The question remains, who will be dropped? It can be Sabbir Rahman or Mahmudullah. Only time will tell. Another interesting thing to watch out for will be Mustafizur’s Test return. The left-arm pacer has already suffered a lengthy lay-off in his short career due to to shoulder injury. How Bangladesh manage him in the Test format remains to be seen with the Tigers also scheduled to play three ODIS and two T20Is against the island nation. [caption id="attachment_50260" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Mustafizur Rahman takes a catch to dismiss opening batsman Ron Chandraguptha AFP[/caption] In ODIs and T20Is, regular captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza is on line to return to the squad after recovering from a broken finger that he incurred in New Zealand. If the last couple of years are anything to go by, Bangladesh have a good chance of winning the ODI series. But the challenge is bigger this time around as host Sri Lanka are always dangerous on their soil. Test skipper Mushfiq indicated that the Tigers have a good chance of winning. “It is a good opportunity for us, given that they (Sri Lanka) do not have many of their key players now. Regular captain Angelo Mathews is also out. But we should not forget that we are playing at their backyard. They will be under pressure as Bangladesh have been playing good cricket for quite some time now,” said Mushfiq on Sunday. He continued, “We are not at the stage where we can openly challenge a side in Test cricket. We are still inexperienced in this format. We can learn more when we create match-winning situations. We have to play well throughout the five days, and not only in the first three.” On the other hand, makeshift Sri Lanka captain Rangana Herath said, “I would say this is the best team from Bangladesh that has come here. They beat England as well a few months ago, but their recent form is not that great with defeats to New Zealand and India.” Herath, who will turn 39 during the second Test at P Sara Oval, added, “I believe that in Test cricket they have still got work to do. They have improved no doubt, but there's still work to be done. The good thing for them is that they have a very experienced batting line-up. So I believe it will be a challenge for us.”