Onus on spinners in SL | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 18, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 18, 2021

Onus on spinners in SL

Spin has long been the Bangladesh team's main weapon over the years, especially in the game's longest format. And the Tigers' spinners will have a big job on their hands once again on their upcoming two-match Test series in Sri Lanka, where the hosts are set to test the visitors in their spin-friendly conditions with the first Test slated to start on April 21 in Kandy.

However, Bangladesh's record against Sri Lanka has been disappointing despite the Tigers playing the most number of Test matches against their Lankan counterparts. Apart from the only win, in Bangladesh's 100th Test in 2017, Bangladesh have lost 16 and drawn three of the other twenty encounters so far against Sri Lanka.

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In the absence of their most experienced spinner in the form of Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh will heavily rely on left-arm spinner Taijul Islam and off-spinners Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Nayeem Hasan and Shuvagata Hom in the two-match Test series.

The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy has historically favoured spinners and that was reflected even in the last two Tests at the ground where visiting spinners played huge roles in victories.

English spinners Jack Leach, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid were instrumental as England sealed a 57-run win over the hosts in 2018 in what was the last Test that was played in Pallekele.

Although Bangladesh are yet to play a Test match in Pallekele, the likes of Taijul and Miraz will definitely look to cash in on their experience in the upcoming Tests, both of which will be at the same venue.

Selectors are yet to announce the final squad for the series but the Tigers, who lack experience in the pace bowling department, will surely be looking for spinners to take the leading role.

Among a current lot of cricketers, Miraz has been the most successful bowler for the Tigers in Sri Lanka, picking up ten wickets in two Tests. The off-spinner is also the second-highest wicket-taker for Bangladesh in the longest format of the game in the past year, with ten wickets for the Tigers, behind Taijul Islam's 12 wickets.

Taijul will play a key role as the only specialist left-arm spinner in the side and the 29-year-old has developed into a world-class spinner over the past few years.

However, one of the major concerns for the Bangladeshi spinners has been an inability to perform away from home and a lack of experience has been highlighted as one of the biggest reasons.

Nayeem Hasan, who has picked up 25 wickets in seven Tests so far, has played just one Test away from home and has not scalped a wicket abroad.

It will be important for Bangladeshi spinners to hit the right areas often to get the most purchase out of the pitch and it is the spinners who will play a huge role if the Tigers want to pick twenty wickets in a Test match in the island nation this time around.


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