Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the two South Asian nations, have not faced each other in more than three years, with the drought set to end this week. Their last series, which took place in early 2018 in Bangladesh and comprised of two matches, was clinched by Sri Lanka 1-0.
When these two sides meet in Test cricket, a Sri Lanka victory is the norm. In fact, of their nine bilateral series, Sri Lanka have won eight, with the only exception being their series during the 2016-17 season when the series was split 1-1. That Test remains the only Test Bangladesh have beaten Sri Lanka in.
It translates into a 16-1 head-to-head record on Sri Lanka’s favour.
Sri Lanka, who have rarely been shy of quality spinners, are a bit light this time around. Both Lasith Embuldeniya and Dilruwan Perera are out, which means that one of both of Wanindu Hasaranga and Lakshan Sandakan will have to take responsibility.
Apart from the injury issues, another area Mickey Arthur needs to fix is Sri Lanka’s batting, which at times shows improvement under the incumbent coach but then collapses inexplicably more than occasionally.
Bangladesh: While the Kandy wicket has traditionally favoured seamers, it is a known fact that to beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, you need to have a great spin attack. Unfortunately, this Bangladesh side neither has great spinners, not seamers.
The Tigers are arguably the worst touring team in world cricket – a fact signified by their sole away victory in Tests over the last five years. They will find confidence in the fact that that single win came in Sri Lanka in 2017 but their away record since then reads a resounding 0-9, with the nine here representing defeats.
The fact that they are without their main man and talisman Shakib Al Hasan makes matters worse. Another major headache for the management is the team’s subpar fielding, which was on full display during their recent tour of New Zealand, where the number of their dropped catches was in double digits.