SL gear up for Bangladesh Tests with rookie pace line-up

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Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced an 18-man squad for the forthcoming Test tour of Bangladesh, which includes an experienced batting line-up but lacks teeth in the bowling line-up, especially in the pace department.

Retirement of Suranga Lakmal and unavailability of Dushmantha Chameera means left arm paceman Vishwa Fernando is the most experienced pace bowler with just 16 Tests to his credit, while Kasun Rajitha is the next best with 7 Tests. 

Former England head coach Chris Silverwood, who took up the reins after the departure of Mickey Arthur, is optimistic about the series and said he had given a challenge to the bowlers and they have responded very well.

“I have been here for two weeks. First week was trying to get to know the guys. This week I see real improvement in the way they train – shot selection and where they go about their business at the nets. I have specifically challenged Test bowlers to harden their first 12 balls, because we all know in the first 12 balls you can make a real impact of your spell as well as put pressure back on the batters. What I have noticed is that they have responded really well to that. They have also responded really well to fielding drills that we’ve been doing,” said Silverwood addressing his first media conference as SL head coach yesterday at R. Premadasa Stadium.

Silverwood also stated that Sri Lanka’s dot ball percentage is one of the main points of discussion going forward, where they are addressing ways to resolve that issue.

Meanwhile, SLC also introduced their new assistant cum batting coach, former Sri Lanka cap Naveed Nawaz, who has experience coaching in Bangladesh, which will come in handy ahead of the tour. Nawaz said batters will have a major responsibility where the Chittagong wicket – which is home for the first Test – has a history of a batting friendly flat pitch where Tests often go to the last session of the last day, especially if both teams have experienced batting line-ups compared to rookie bowling line-ups.

The first of the two match Test series will be played from 15 to 19 May in Chittagong, followed by the second Test from 23 to 27 May in Dhaka.

Team: Dimuth Karunaratne, Kamil Mishara, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Suminda Lakshan, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan  Madushanka, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya.

(AK)