Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka: First Test Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

We preview the first Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka set to get underway on Wednesday 31 January. 

Bangladesh lost a substantial amount of momentum toward the end of the recent limited-overs tri-series, but will draw inspiration from March 2017's first ever Test victory over Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka have not been victorious in a Test in four months - and will be determined to rekindle the winning form shown against Pakistan in October last year.

Bangladesh v Sri Lanka | 31 January - 4 February | Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium | 5:30

To Win Match
Bangladesh 13/10 | Draw 35/1 | Sri Lanka 13/10

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Bangladesh
Always a legitimate threat in ODI and T20I cricket, Bangladesh will admittedly struggle in the longest format of the game, with sustained periods of pressure rather than quick and isolated bursts of success in high demand.

They've recalled vetearn left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, who hasn't played for the country for almost three years and recently became the first Bangaleshi to take 500 first-class wickets. He'll effectively replace Shakib Al Hasan.

Al Hasan has been sidelined by a finger injury - and his absence is a huge blow for a team evidently overly reliant on his contributions with bat and ball. They will ostensibly require two cricketers to make up for the exit of one.

The Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium has been a poor hunting ground for the Tigers, who have won just one Tests in 16 attempts here. That lone victory, all of four years ago, was against lowly Zimbabwe.

They are going to need a complete, all-round performance to pull off a second win against a team they've only beaten once in 18 Tests. On a pitch that is expected to deliver large scores, the bowlers and batsmen, indeed, will need to unite appropriately.

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Sri Lanka
The last time Sri Lanka visited the sub-continent for a Test series, they were thoroughly outdone by the Indians, but won't soon forget their success over Pakistan in the Gulf a couple of months prior to that.

Rangana Herath, as usual, is going to have to commandingly spearhead the spin-bowling department. Suranga Lakmal, recently appointed vice-captain, can take the additional responsibility and faith shown in him and lead the seamers well.

Their ODI unit showed a lot of resilience in the tri-series, bouncing back from defeat to Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to eventually win the tournament. This same collective steel is needed in the the Test matches, too.

Squad-wise, while Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dushmantha Chameera, Akila Dananjaya and Lahiru Kumara have been omitted, Vishwa Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dasun Shanaka, Lahiru Thirimanne have been recalled.

They're probably going to be without the injury-prone Angelo Mathews for the series opener, placing more pressure on Dimuth Karunaratne to get things right at the top of the knock so a Mathews-less middle order isn't further hampered.

Verdict: Sri Lanka 13/10
Both teams will be without important players in Al Hasan and Mathews, but Sri Lanka have enough other resources to lessen the blow, while Bangladesh probably don't - and will likely lose, if not force a draw.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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