'Best chance to beat Lanka'
The rain in Colombo yesterday prevented the Bangladesh team from doing any sort of outdoor training. A number of the players instead decided to spend their time sweating it out in the gym.
“We were scheduled to have a practice session but couldn't do anything because of the weather. There wasn't much activity. The pacers spent most of their time in the gym. That's pretty much it,” team manager Khaled Mahmud told The Daily Star yesterday.
There was, however, some time for a few press meets and the coaches of both teams spoke to the media regarding the series.
Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha exuded confidence and was also happy that the Tigers were touring Sri Lanka.
“I am happy that we are touring Sri Lanka. It gives me an opportunity to see my mother. I have got a lot of support over the years and a lot of motivation as well,” said Hathurusingha.
“When I was playing for Sri Lanka, we were in a similar scenario like Bangladesh. We went through a steep learning process and it all changed for us in the mid 1990s. I would say Bangladesh are in a similar position at the moment,” he further said.
Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford said that he expects the series to be a competitive one.
“We had Bangladesh in Sri Lanka in 2013 and it was very competitive. We were fortunate to get over the line on that occasion. They have a few players who were a part of that squad still playing for Bangladesh and this will be another competitive series,” he said.
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim, meanwhile, was in confident mood. “This is our best opportunity to beat Sri Lanka but we also have to remember that they whitewashed Australia here last year.”
Sri Lanka captain Rangana Herath, who will be leading Sri Lanka in place of the injured Angelo Mathews, said that he was worried about the Sri Lankans in Bangladesh's camp.
He was referring to head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, batting coach Thilan Samaraweera and trainer Mario Villavarayan. He also reckons that this team would be the toughest Bangladesh side visiting the island.
“I would say that the way Hathurusingha thinks about the game has helped me too. With so many Sri Lankans in their camp, they have a good idea about our team and our game.
“I would say that 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 said.
“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.”
Bangladesh will begin their series with a two-day warm-up game against a Sri Lankan Cricket Board team tomorrow at the Moratuwa Cricket Stadium.
Rangana Herath (Captain), Dimuth Karunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Pradeep, Vikum Sanjaya Bandara, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Malinda Pushpakumara.