By Amindha de Alwis
A balanced playing surface, more evenly beneficial to batsmen and bowlers, is expected at Pallekele for the second of the two-match series between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, home team captain Dimuth Karunaratne said.
Karunaratne was of the view that the pitch for the second Test will offer more assistance to the bowlers, in contrast to the pitch used for the first Test where both teams piled on the runs and took just 17 wickets collectively. “There was not a lot of support from the wicket for the bowlers to take 20 wickets in the last match. With this heat it is difficult to prepare a wicket for seamers as the wicket flattens out and dries up quickly,” the skipper said on the eve of the game. He added that with fast-bowler Lahiru Kumara ruled out with a hamstring injury, the home team would go in with an additional spin-bowling option in his stead.
“Lahiru Kumara is out of this match and will be replaced by a spinner. Most probably we will play two fast-bowlers and three spinners, including Dhananjaya De Silva,” Karunaratne revealed.
Sri Lanka are missing the services of frontline spinners Lasith Embuldeniya and Dilruwan Perera due to injury and failing to meet fitness standards respectively but Karunaratne believed that right-arm off-spinner Ramesh Mendis and left-arm finger-spinner Praveen Jayawickrama – neither of whom played the last game – are capable of rising to the occasion.
“Ramesh Mendis and Praveen Jayawickrama have been included in the squad after performing and taking wickets. I know they have not played a lot of games, but I believe they will put on a good display if given the opportunity in this Test,” he stated.