SL look to clinch series against B'desh
Bad weather is the main stumbling block as Sri Lanka bid to secure a series-win in the second Test against Bangladesh.cricket Updated: Jul 02, 2007 18:17 IST
Bad weather appears the main stumbling block as Sri Lanka bid to secure a series-winning victory in the second Test against Bangladesh starting at the P Sara stadium in Colombo on Tuesday.
Rain denied the teams any meaningful practice on Monday and thunderstorms have been forecast for the rest of the week, raising fears of a truncated match.
The seasonal wet weather did not disrupt last week's first Test, which Sri Lanka won by an innings and 234 runs early on the fourth morning at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC).
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene hoped the rain would stay away over the next few days to enable the hosts clinch the three-match series with their ninth consecutive win over the Test minnows.
Jayawardene ruled out any complacency against the struggling rivals, saying his team needed to perform better in the five-day game.
"I feel we can still improve in batting, bowling and fielding," he said.
"One area that we can improve on is to make those hundreds into 150s and 200s. That'll give our bowlers the ideal platform.
"In patches we bowled off target in the first Test and gave away too many boundary deliveries. We were not as consistent as we would have liked.
"In fielding we can always improve. There were a few catches that went down and we can create pressure by a run-out or two."
Jayawardene declined to write off Bangladesh, who have won just one of their 47 matches and lost 41 since gaining Test status in 2000.
"I guess the Bangladeshis are heading in the right direction," he said, referring to their maiden appearance in the second round of the limited-overs World Cup in the Caribbean earlier this year.
"A bit more commitment from the players could help them at the Test level."
Prolific off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who took nine wickets in the first Test, will eye another bagful of wickets on his home ground where he learnt the trade as a youngster.
Muralitharan has grabbed 59 wickets in seven matches against Bangladesh and is only 25 wickets away from equalling retired Australian spinner Shane Warne's world record tally of 708.
"It's Murali's home wicket and he usually does very well at this ground," said Jayawardene. "The wicket looks very hard and firm and will hopefully play well over the five days."
Sri Lanka are unlikely to make any changes from the side that won the first Test, which means opener Malinda Warnapura gets another chance after falling for zero on his debut in the previous game.
Bangladesh may include 18-year-old wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim in place of the long-serving Khaled Mashud and also play a third seamer in Mohammad Sharif instead of a spinner.
Rahim, who has played two Tests, is regarded a better batsman than Mashud and will lend depth to the lower order.
Bangladesh's interim coach Shaun Williams said a final decision on the playing XI would be taken on Tuesday morning.
"A couple of changes could be made to get the balance right," the Australian said. "We need to bat for long periods. We are focusing on the batting."
Bangladesh, who were shot out for 89 in the first innings at the SSC, cruised to 227-3 in the second knock when the last seven wickets slumped for 27 runs.