First Test preview: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka

Bangladesh

Bangladesh have plenty to prove in the wake of the controversial 'position paper's' suggestions, while Sri Lanka are eager to correct what was undone against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

Bangladesh have plenty to prove in the wake of the controversial 'position paper's' suggestions, while Sri Lanka are eager to correct what was undone against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

A slew of injuries have left the host attack depleted, but the understrength nature must challenge the stakes regardless – and justify <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet/cricket' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>online cricket betting odds</b></a> – if plans to relegate them to the InterContinental Cup as early as next year to be negated.

As is the norm, the longest format of the international game will truly test a team increasingly adept in ODI and T20I cricket. Veritable one-man armies in captain Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan will require vast support for this – and the recall of the talented Imrul Kayes and a possible debut for the currently uncapped Shamsur Rahman bodes well.

Sri Lanka have a new coach in Englishman Paul Farbrace. The outgoing Graham Ford publicly acknowledged the improvement of the islanders earlier this month. The advancements, though, need fine-tuning. Farbrace beat a handful of impressive candidates to the job, and has his work cut out for him. A quick two-match series against Bangladesh, though, promises a reasonably easy start to the tenure.

Captain Angelo Mathews will be presented with the opportunity to be more attacking. Criticised against Pakistan recently, particularly in the series decider, Mathews the batsman must lead by example in scoring reasonably quickly – and Mathews the skipper must ask more of his bowlers.

Ajantha Mendis, meanwhile, is the latest sidekick of choice for Rangana Herath. The Sri Lankans can't seem to decide on that second specialist spinner – and this, indeed, might be last chance saloon for Mendis.

<b>Key Men</b><br>Kayes sports plenty of talent, but has lacked followthrough, but might be able to cash in against an opposition attack arguably still smarting from unexpected defeat to Pakistan. Likely to open the batting, he sports <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet/cricket/cricket-test-matches/Bangladesh-V-Sri-Lanka-6416115.html' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>5/1 odds to finish as the top run-scorer</b></a> in Mirpur.

Sri Lanka, again, will want more than the old guard of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene to deliver. Therein lies the recalled Kithuruwan Vithanage's chance to impress.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2013: Second Test: Sri Lanka won by seven wickets in Colombo<br>2013: First Test: Match drawn in Galle<br>2009: Second Test: Sri Lanka won by 465 runs in Chittagong<br>2008: First Test: Sri Lanka won by 107 runs in Dhaka<br>2007: Third Test: Sri Lanka won by an innings and 193 runs in Kandy

<b>Probable Teams</b><br><i>Bangladesh:</i> Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Shamsur Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Nasir Hossain, Mohammad Mahmudullah, Sohag Gazi, Robiul Islam, Rubel Hossain.

<i>Sri Lanka:</i> Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews (captain), Kithuruwan Vithanage, Prasanna Jayawardene (wicketkeeper), Rangana Herath, Ajantha Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Shaminda Eranga.

<b>Dates:</b> 27 to 31 January<br><b>Morning session:</b> 09:30-11:30 (03:30-05:30 GMT)<br><b>Afternoon session:</b> 12:10-14:10 (06:10-08:10 GMT)<br><b>Evening session:</b> 14:30-16:30 (08:30-10:30 GMT)<br><b>On-field umpires:</b> Paul Reiffel and Nigel Llong<br><b>Third umpire:</b> Sharfuddoula Saikat<br><b>Match referee:</b> Javagal Srinath

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