Colombo: Hosts Sri Lanka will be desperate to deliver when they take on buoyant Bangladesh in the second and final Test starting here on Saturday. The first Test between the two sides was full of runs and ended in a draw, but the the R Premadasa Stadium track should offer an exciting contest and far less punishing for the bowlers.
Bangladesh performed exceptionally well with the bat and exceeded expectations in the first Test, posting their highest total of 638 in Tests. Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim led from the front with a solid 200, the first double-century by a Bangladeshi batsman in Tests. Mohammad Ashraful and Nasir Hossain also scored hundreds as the visitors' batting line-up looked comfortable against the Sri Lankan attack.
On the other hand, Sri Lankan batsmen also caught the eye in Galle, with Kumar Sangakkara scoring a century in each innings. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal also made hundreds for the home side.
The pitch curator here, though, has promised an even contest this time round, with the R Premadasa Stadium hosting only its seventh Test, and the first since 2010. Spinners Rangana Herath, Ajantha Mendis and paceman Shaminda Eranga - who were taken apart by the Bangladeshi batsmen in the first Test - will hope to get more purchase from the strip here.
Bangladesh will look to Sohag Gazi to counter the Sri Lankan batsmen, with the young spinner proving to be one of the few who could take them on in Galle. He took three of the four wickets in the first innings and will hope for more here.
Bangladesh's hard-hitting opener Tamim Iqbal, who missed the first Test due to injury, is likely to return to the side. Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak may also make it to the playing XI. Sri Lanka are likely to go with the same team.
Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Kithuruwan Vithanagem, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews (captain), Rangana Herath, Ajantha Mendis, Shaminda Eranga, Chanaka Welegedara.
Bangladesh: Jahurul Islam, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Ashraful, Mominul Haque, Mohammad Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim (capt/wk), Nasir Hossain, Sohag Gazi, Abul Hasan, Abdur Razzak, Elias Sunny.