Bangladesh have ‘high expectations’ for Sri Lanka Test series

Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP

Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP

Published Mar 21, 2024


Bangladesh host a "formidable" Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series starting on Friday and ambitions are growing after years of struggle.

Bangladesh finished last in the 2021-2023 World Test Championship, winning just one of their 12 matches.

But in their previous Test series, against New Zealand in November-December, Bangladesh won the first match in Sylhet before losing the second in Dhaka after a close fight.

"We have high expectations," Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha told reporters in Sylhet ahead of the first Test, part of the 2023–25 World Test Championship cycle.

"If we can win most matches at home, then we give ourselves a good chance to be in contention in the World Test Championship."

"This Test series gives us a good challenge, but we are up for it," he added.

Hathurusingha warned however that he was expecting a tough challenge from his home nation Sri Lanka, calling them a "formidable, very experienced side".

Bangladesh will have to defy recent history.

They have won one of their 24 Tests against Sri Lanka, with their only victory coming seven years ago in Colombo.

Bangladesh will also be without veteran batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, who was ruled out of the series with a thumb injury.

Bangladesh's highest scorer in Tests with 5,676 runs in 88 matches was injured during Monday's four-wicket win, when he helped the hosts to a 2-1 victory in the ODI series.

Sri Lanka won the Twenty20 series 2-1.

Bangladesh look set to rest pace bowler Shoriful Islam, one of the few all-format cricketers in the side.

"Shoriful played a lot of white-ball cricket so we are giving him time off," said Hathurusingha.

With Taskin Ahmed also unavailable for the series, the hosts might hand debuts to uncapped fast bowlers Mushfik Hasan and Nahid Rana.

The second Test begins in Chittagong on March 30.

Bangladesh squad: Najmul Hossain Shanto (capt), Zakir Hasan, Mahmudul Hasan, Shadman Islam, Liton Das, Mominul Haque, Towhid Hridoy, Shahadat Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Shoriful Islam, Syed Khaled Ahmed, Mushfik Hasan, Nahid Rana

Sri Lanka squad: Dhananjaya de Silva (capt), Kusal Mendis, Dimuth Karunaratne, Nishan Madushka, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kamindu Mendis, Lahiru Udara, Prabath Jayasuriya, Ramesh Mendis, Nishan Peiris, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Chamika Gunasekara