Hosts Bangladesh hope that team spirit will propel them to victory in the series-deciding second Test against Sri Lanka from Monday with their four frontline bowlers all out injured.
Bowlers from both teams struggled to make an impact on all five days of the drawn first Test in Chittagong.
But the wicket at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium is expected to offer some assistance and no Test has been drawn at the ground since 2016. If Bangladesh, who enjoyed the upper hand in the first Test, are to get a result they will do so with their bowling stocks badly depleted.
Off-spinner Nayeem Hasan, who claimed 6-105 in the first innings of the first Test, was the latest to be ruled out with a finger injury on Friday. The hosts are also without Taskin Ahmed, Mehidy Hasan and Shoriful Islam. Bangladesh have opted not to replace pacer Shoriful, who suffered a hand injury in Chittagong, while a replacement for Nayeem is yet to be named. Skipper Mominul Haque said it would need to be a team effort.
“Batsmen or bowlers, we get good results when we can play as a team. The team gets into a good position whenever we give a collective effort. It will help us in Dhaka,” Mominul said. Mominul pointed to the hosts’ extensive experience of the wicket in the capital.
“We play our most matches in Dhaka. I think we know how to handle spin and pace,” he said.
Sri Lanka struck an equally upbeat tone. They have won all three Test matches they have played at Sher-e-Bangla stadium, including a 215-run victory during their last visit in 2018.
“Our pacers did better than theirs (in the first Test). We have a few positives in that aspect,” all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva said. Outlining a winning formula for the second Test, de Silva said the Dhaka wicket “will be helpful to the spinners”.
“If we are batting first we will try to get 275-300, and then get them out for less than 150 in one innings,” he said. “It will give us a chance to win.” Pace bowlers took seven of Sri Lanka’s nine wickets in the first Test, with right-arm quick Kasun Rajitha — playing as a concussion substitute for Vishwa Fernando — leading the way with 4-60.