Bangladesh’s skipper targets new Galle run fest


Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim urged Bangladesh’s batsmen to fill their boots again when they begin their Test series against Sri Lanka Tuesday on a ground where they made history last time round.

Bangladesh scored 638 in their first innings of the 2013 match in the southern city of Galle, their highest total in their 17-year Test history — holding the hosts to a rare draw in the process.

Mushfiqur became the first Bangladeshi to score a double century and then-captain Mohammad Ashraful struck 190 in that match as the Test minnows took a surprise first-innings lead after Sri Lanka had declared on 570-4.

It was the first time Sri Lanka had failed to win a Test against Bangladesh, although Bangladesh later managed another draw against the islanders in Chittagong in 2014.

Mushfiqur said the wicket being used for this week’s Test may not quite yield the total of 1,613 runs scored over the course of the five days in 2013. But it should still be a pleasure to bat on.

“The heat might help break down the wicket faster but if the batsmen apply themselves, there are plenty of runs available,” he told reporters on the eve of the first Test.

“It is probably a bit different than the 2013 Test but it is still a nice wicket to bat on, although I think there will be something for the quicks in the first two days.

“The wind might also help them with movement (of balls). As the days progress, spin will also come into play.”

The Bangladeshi skipper said he had fond memories of Galle but added that Sri Lanka were now a different proposition.

“It is always a nice feeling to have achieved something as an individual and a team,” Mushfiqur told reporters.

“But it is a new game, and it looks like a new Sri Lanka attack apart from Rangana (Herath). We have to play our best cricket to compete with them.”

Mushfiqur will be playing in the Test as a specialist batsman after the selectors asked him to quit wicketkeeping duty, a move about which he appeared to have mixed feelings.

“I have said it repeatedly that my keeping helped me understand the wicket better, which helped me as a batsman,” he said.

“It will be a different feeling. I have to do what I am told to do, for the team. I am happy and I will try to contribute as much as possible as a top-order batsman,” he said.