Sri Lanka search for potent bowling combination


Sri Lanka head coach Chris Silverwood heaped praise on Kasun Rajitha for his performance in the opening Test of the two-match series against Bangladesh. The pacer came into the contest as a concussion substitute and ended with 4 for 60 in the drawn game.  

“Kasun bowled well and he got movement on a flat deck,” gushed Silverwood. “He held his line and length beautifully and he got rewarded too. I thought Kasun and Asitha were excellent. I thought the way that they continued, the heart and fight that they showed in what was a flat wicket, they were exceptional. I was really pleased with how the seamers bowled. I thought we got better in all departments as time went on.”

Sri Lanka are set to make changes to the eleven that played the opening Test, but Silverwood chose to keep his cards close to his chest. “We go through every ground’s statistics. We look at what results have been here before, and what the make-up of the bowling attack and batting line-up has been,” he pointed out. “We consider history, and then we will pick our team. We do have a XII in mind, but I am not going to tell you that yet.

“There is a possibility of changing the XI from Chattogram. Looking at the statistics, we will select a squad that gives us all the options, whether that’s picking one seamer or whichever way we decide to go. We will make sure there are plenty of options for the captain in that squad for tomorrow morning.”

Silverwood acknowledged he’s banking on assistant coach Naveed Nawaz for more details on what the side should expect in Dhaka. “I haven’t seen this wicket but I do have someone who you all know, is in my coaching staff, who knows these conditions. I will speak to my assistant coach so that we fully understand how this wicket will play. We will be using his knowledge from his time in Bangladesh, and the statistics of this ground, to make sure the captain has the best possible bowling attack to exploit the conditions,” he said.

“I don’t think this is going to be an easy game at all. Both teams want to win this game. I think the last game was a close-fought contest. The momentum swung both ways, rapidly at times. Bangladesh had us on the ropes at times. We had to fight back hard to make sure that we got back into the game. I think this will be similar. The game will go forward at a quicker pace. We have to be ready for that. I am looking forward to some exciting cricket.

“The players are very focused. They know we have a tough task in front us. It is a great challenge. Both teams want to win. It will be great if we can win. It will bring a smile to the people back home. Equally, Bangladesh will try to do the same, so that will make a great contest.”

SL playing XI

Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Ramesh Mendis, Praveen Jayawickrama,  Asitha Fernando and Kasun Rajitha