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We have some tough cricket ahead of us - Ford

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Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford |Bangladesh coach Shane Jurgensen Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford |Bangladesh coach Shane Jurgensen

Bangladesh well prepared says coach

Coach Graham Ford warned Sri Lanka that they have to perform at their best in the upcoming Test series against Bangladesh and play some really good cricket if they are to beat them. The first of two Tests starts at Galle on March 8.“Rating Bangladesh as a Test team is quite hard because they haven’t played a lot of Test cricket. They seem to play some good cricket against the West Indies although they didn’t quite get over the line,” said Ford.

“The thing that we better be aware of is that it is a nation that has produced a lot of very talented cricketers, a lot of players who are capable of turning a game on its head. Conditions won’t be that foreign for them, so considering all of that we’ve got to understand that we got some tough cricket ahead of us. We have to play really good Test cricket to outplay them,” he said.

“We got an idea of some of the players and we got some footage which we are going to work through. A lot of your plans need to be done with the plans you have in consideration, not 100 percent sure what the playing surface will be like. We know that Bangladesh has produced some very effective spin bowlers that seemed to work quite well for them. They have tried hard to get some pace bowlers into their system and I believe they got a couple of young bowlers that are starting to bowl at a lively pace.

They relied more on spinners in the past and they got some players that play spin extremely well, some lovely stroke makers in their batting line-up. They’ve played a whole lot more limited overs cricket than they have Test match cricket so it will be interesting to see how some of those batsmen adapt to Test match cricket. But being a nation that hasn’t played Test cricket probably as they would have liked to, they will be very determined to show not only us but the cricketing world they can play Test cricket,” Ford said.

The South African-born coach said that this series was the time for Sri Lanka to start improving in certain areas which they fell short in Australia. “After the disappointing series against Australia we realise that we got to improve in certain areas and this is an important time to start doing that with some of the younger faces involved. That’s certainly going to bring energy and commitment. For those younger guys complacency doesn’t come into it, as far as they are concerned it’s all something pretty new and exciting for them,” said Ford.

“We have spoken about complacency within the group. When you put on a Sri Lankan cricket shirt there would be no shortage of motivation and certainly there should be no complacency at all. Every time the guys step out of the line to go and play they got to be playing at their very best,” he said. “Not having Mahela (Jayawardene) and his experience around is a bit of a blow He is such a star performer particularly at Galle. But in Australia we had to play without Sanga (Kumar Sangakkara) and some of the senior players. It’s an opportunity every time that happens it does give a younger guy an opportunity to show what he can do. It’s a great learning opportunity for the younger guys. Perhaps we might not be quite as good a team without some of the experienced guys but we will be gaining a lot out of some of the younger players.”

Ford expects some of Jayawardene’s captaincy ideas and strategies to rub into Angelo Mathew who will make his debut as Test captain at Galle. Mathews was understudy to Jayawardene as vice-captain for a year before he was promoted captain of the Test and ODI teams. “I am sure it will be shown in his captaincy. Mahela was very good at talking to him a lot about various things and his thoughts and why he did certain things. It’s only natural that he would use some of those things along the way. I am sure a fair amount of that will rub on to him,” said Ford.

“Angelo’s had a couple of outstanding games as a leader in T20 and he has led from the front. He had a very good SLPL as a captain and he’s shown us time and time again he’s got a cool head for pressure situations; he almost thrives on it which is a unique and special thing for a captain. “He’s really made the most of learning from a guy like Mahela and one or two other wise heads. He spoke a little bit about the balance of the side and why he is bringing some of the younger guys. Some of the senior guys are still very important to the set up not just what they bring to the table as players but the knowledge they bring is important. Angelo is a guy that’s looking to absorb knowledge and learn along the way. He is already for his age shown a lot of maturity and wisdom as a captain and I am sure he will learn a heck lot more in the time to come,” he said.

Bangladesh’s Australian coach Shane Jurgensen said that his team was determined to give Sri Lanka a good challenge in the Test series.“Sri Lanka is a very good cricket team but we’ll try our best. We have come here to win,” said Jurgensen. “We had a few issues in Bangladesh over the last few weeks with a couple of injuries. At the same time I am very impressed the way the players have approached their preparations. We are very well prepared and look forward to the series.”Jurgensen pointed out that in their last Test series against West Indies at home, Bangladesh narrowly failed to beat the tourists and they also recorded their highest total in Test cricket. Bangladesh piled up 556 in the first Test played at Dhaka which they lost by 77 runs.

SRI LANKA: Angelo Mathews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal (vice-captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Ashen Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thilan Samaraweera, Kushal Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Ajantha Mendis, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Shaminda Eranga, Chanaka Welegedera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Rangana Herath, Tharindu Kaushal.

BANGLADESH: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Mahmudullah (vice-captain), Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Ashraful, Anamul Haque, Elias Sunny, Nasir Hossain, Sohag Gazi, Abul Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Marshall Ayub, Jahurul Islam, Mominul Haque, Shahadat Hossain, Robiul Islam. 

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