Monday, 3 February 2014 00:00
ESPNCricinfo: Sri Lanka will anticipate stiffer resistance from Bangladesh in Chittagong, despite the feebleness of their Mirpur loss, batsman Kumar Sangakkara said. The hosts had failed to exert pressure on Sri Lanka for significant periods in the first Test, and were bowled out cheaply in both innings as they continued to offer rash strokes. The Bangladesh bowlers had only dismissed six Sri Lanka batsmen - one of them a nightwatchman who was slated to come in at No. 11 - as the visitors amassed 730.
Bangladesh had been more spirited in the two-match Test series the teams had played in Sri Lanka last year, drawing one match and stringing together impressive periods in the second, which they eventually lost.
“We are pretty much used to Bangladesh putting up a pretty good fight usually,” Sangakkara said. “They pushed us in the Test series over there, and we walked away 1-1 in the one-day series. More often than not, they are more competitive in the one-day version of the game, so in the shorter formats of the game, we know we’re in for the fight. We won’t expect anything less than that from them here. The earlier game was easier than we thought it would be, but we expect it to be different here.
“Whether we are complacent or not can only be seen when we start playing. The guys usually are very good in their preparation. Complacency is not something we think about or pay much attention to. We just go through our preparation process really well.”
Sri Lanka’s fast bowlers had blasted Bangladesh out with the short ball in Mirpur, but a change in tack may be required for a drier Chittagong pitch, Sangakkara suggested.
“It’s hard to use the same strategy, because the wicket looks quite different from there to now. But even on this track a short ball can be useful,” he said. “We don’t really know what we will plan for the batsmen, but our job is to do the basics well - put the ball in the right areas. If we have a specific strategy, to make sure the bowlers bowl to that field and that strategy.
“There’s not much grass, and not much moisture in the pitch. I’m not that great at predicting exactly what happens on a wicket, but we’ll have to wait and see how it pans out over the five days.”
Kithuruwan Vithanage and Kaushal Silva had made maiden hundreds in the first Test, as Angelo Mathews continued his fine stretch of form with 86. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are the towering figures in that top order, but contributions from the younger men do not necessarily ease their burden, Sangakkara said.
“Whoever scores runs, it doesn’t take that expectation away from any other player. Pressure is something that’s constant,” he said. “It’s not really something you think about. If you can’t handle pressure, it’s no use walking out there in the middle. There’s no guarantee that you’ll score every time you go out, but chances are every time you walk in, after a good start - whether you’re in form or not, your job is to score runs.”