CHATTOGRAM, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh has been boosted by the return of star allrounder Shakib Al Hasan for the two-test series against Sri Lanka starting on Sunday.
Describing Shakib as a two-in-one player, captain Mominul Haque said on Saturday his presence gives Bangladesh the necessary balance it needs to overcome Sri Lanka’s challenge.
Shakib missed the last two test series, the draw in New Zealand and loss in South Africa, and was doubtful for this series after being infected by COVID-19.
But he's tested negative and been training to prove his fitness.
“From what I have seen,” Mominul said, "he batted really well. He looks 100% fit to play. The good thing about Shakib is he is, psychologically, very strong. If he wants, he can overcome any problems.”
Bangladesh lost two recent tests from strong positions: Against Pakistan in Chattogram in November, and South Africa in Durban in March. A bad session on day five was costly each time.
Amid those ups and downs, Bangladesh won a test in New Zealand for the first time.
“We have the ability to beat any side if we play really well for the full five days. Not for four days,” Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo said.
“When we have a bad session, we have a really bad session. If we lose one or two wickets, we can't lose five. It is something we are trying to address all the time. We are trying to stay calm in the dressing room, so that the batsmen stop the rot.”
On head to head, Sri Lanka won the first 12 tests to March 2013, after which Bangladesh has been competitive: In the last 10, Bangladesh has won one, drawn four, and lost five.
Sri Lanka hasn't won in Chattogram, venue of the first test, since 2009.
"We want to move to Dhaka with a winning note,” Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne said.
“If you look at the wickets here, it's pretty flat. Yes they (Bangladesh) were brilliant in home conditions. But we think we can do much better than the previous years."
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