Tigers look to catch Sri Lanka off guard

Tigers celebrate
Tigers celebrate the fall of a first wicket. File Photo: Firoz Ahmed

With an eye on improving its less than impressive away record, Bangladesh will look to catch an under-strength Sri Lanka off guard when the two-Test series gets underway in Galle on Tuesday.

Bangladesh has won just three of its 45 away matches -- two against West Indies in 2009 and one against Zimbabwe in 2013 -- but has shown considerable improvement since its last victory overseas, according to the International Cricket Council’s match preview.

In its own backyard, Bangladesh has won four Tests, drawn five and conceded only three defeats since 2014. It showed impressive recent form against New Zealand and then India in away matches despite losing in both countries.

Sri Lanka has a solid record at home and blanked Australia 3-0 in the last series it hosted, in August 2016. But Bangladesh will be buoyed by the return of Mustafizur Rahman, the left-arm paceman who has not played a Test since his debut series against South Africa in 2015.

Mustafizur, 21, had undergone a shoulder surgery in August last year, after picking up an injury while playing for Sussex. He was selected for the New Zealand tour in December-January, and played four limited-overs matches before being ruled out of the two Tests that followed due to a hamstring injury.

Sri Lanka has won each of its last five Tests on home soil and will be captained by Rangana Herath, its experienced left-arm spinner who replaced Angelo Mathews.

The Sri Lankan cricket board did not say why Mathews was dropped, but he returned home last month midway through the South African tour after twisting his ankle.

The second Test in Colombo from March 15 will be Bangladesh’s 100th since it gained full status nearly 17 years ago.

The teams are also scheduled to play three One-Day Internationals before facing off in two Twenty20 Internationals to wind down the tour on April 6.

Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt, wk), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah Riyad, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam, Mehedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mosaddek Hossain, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Subashis Roy, Rubel Hossain.

Sri Lanka: Rangana Herath (capt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Pradeep, Vikum Sanjaya Bandara, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Malinda Pushpakumara.