Venue: Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka
Date: Monday 23 May – Friday 27 May
The best way to look at the current form of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is to go back a week and see how the first Test played out. This second Test will have a little extra on the line after the first ended in a draw as a win here for either will result in a series win as this is a short, two-Test match series.
The first Test was a high-scoring affair with the batters certainly on top. Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat, doing so finely as they put up 397 runs in 153 over. This included a majestic 199 for Angelo Matthews off of 397 balls as he scored over half the runs himself before falling one run shy of a double century.
Bangladesh was faced with a big run chase to be ahead after the first innings but they ran down that score of 397 with their own imperious batting display. Tamim Iqbal was the spark as he took just 218 balls to slog for 133 runs. Kasun Rajitha did all he could to keep the score down, putting up figures of 4/60 from his 24.1 overs with the ball. In the end, Bangladesh was all out for 465.
The length of batting to this point in the game meant that Bangladesh would have to bowl Sri Lanka out in short order to have a chance at a win. Instead, the visiting side dug in. They were 260.6 at the close of play on Day 5, with Niroshan Dickwella on 61 not out and playing some fine strokes. He and Dinesh Candimal were the two to dig Sri Lanka out of a hole of their own creation after they had been reduced to 161/6 on the final day. Their 99-run stand wasn’t always pretty, but it was effective.
It would be a surprise to see Sri Lanka make any changes to their XI as everyone seemed to come through the first Test in good knick. Alongside the exploits of Matthews, Dimuth Karunaratne – the skipper – also stood out, especially in the second innings. This was important as Matthews failed to get off the match in his second time at the crease. He needs to be more consistent over the two innings for Sri Lanka to take a win.
It is massive that Bangladesh will be without Nayeem Hasan in this one. Hasan is the best spinner Bangladesh can put out there, but a finger injury picked up in the first Test means he will miss this one. This will be especially frustrating for the home team because the pitch at the Shere Bangla National Stadium is one that favors spin. This is in stark contrast to the aggressive betters wicket that was on offer last week.
Matthews was a well-deserved man of the match in the first Test and he will be the guy to power Sri Lanka forward again here. He is 33/10 with BetXchange to be the top batsman in the first innings in this second Test and that is a price I like. Sri Lanka usually beats Bangladesh – historically they have won 17 matches to just one for the mainland subcontinent team. Hasan out tips the scales in their favor and I like them to win at 14/10.