With the conditions hot and humid at the port city of Chattogram, Bangladesh wisely opted for a five-man attack in the first Test against Sri Lanka, which in turn kept them in the game on the opening day.
Incidentally, the hosts last played with a five-man bowling unit during their tour of Sri Lanka in Pallekele. Since that tour, over 7 Tests against Zimbabwe, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa, they have gone in with four bowlers in the playing XI before returning to the five-bowler formula.
“I always believe that if we have five bowlers in a Test, it will help us take 20 wickets,” Bangladesh spin coach Rangana Herath told reporters after the end of the day’s play. ‘’With or without the heat, it makes life easier for the bowlers. It gives a bit of rest for others,” he added.
Meanwhile, Shakib Al Hasan finished with fine returns of 1 for 27 from 19 overs. The ace all-rounder joined the side only after he tested Covid negative. Herath observed that he was confident of Shakib getting back into his rhythm quickly despite lack of practice. The former Sri Lanka spinner also pointed out that Shakib gives the side the much needed balance.
“I was 100 per cent confident that he will deliver even without practice. ‘We don’t get too many players of his calibre. Even without much practice, he was on his mark with his first ball. It is very good for his confidence.”
‘’He (Shakib) bowled very well today, he was the most economical bowler. Shakib gives us balance when he is around. Otherwise, we need to find someone who can bat and bowl,.”
Sri Lanka finished the day on 258 for 4. On his part, Herath was pleased with Bangladesh’s gritty show with the ball on Day 1. But added that they need to keep up the good work and look to bowl the visitors out for a score of under 400.
‘’Especially on the first day of a Test match, I am happy with how the bowlers did. Shakib and Taijul bowled well. Nayeem also took two wickets. He hasn’t played much cricket in the last 18 months but he has been practicing a lot. In that case, I saw that he needed a bit of confidence, but when he got that wicket off the first ball, his confidence (was restored).
‘’They are 258-4, so I am sure we need two quick wickets as soon as possible tomorrow morning. We want to keep them under 400 runs, so we have to get them bowled out for another 120-130 runs.
They have good spinners like Embuldaniya, Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva, which gives them a quality spin attack. It will be a good challenge for us tomorrow and the day after,’’ he said.