Since the win in the second Test, Bangladesh's first over Sri Lanka in the longest format, the air has been heavy with anticipation of the Lions' backlash to put the Tigers in their place.
Before the first ODI against Bangladesh on Saturday, skipper Upul Tharanga talked about the effort they were putting into their fielding drills and how much they were enjoying it, but their error-strewn display on the field in the first ODI was a continuation of their poor display in the Tests.
To stop Bangladesh's steadily growing momentum on tour, Sri Lanka seem to have turned to a bolstered pace attack with the recall of Nuwan Kulasekara and Nuwan Pradeep to the squad.
There was also a greenish tinge on the pitch at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium less than 24 hours before the match was to start.
“We have included Nuwan Kulasekera and Nuwan Pradeep into the squad; the main reason was Suranga Lakmal's fitness [after he injured his hand while fielding in the first ODI on Saturday],” Sri Lanka manager Asanka Gurusinha said yesterday.”It can take 24-48 hours and we didn't want someone to come in tomorrow [Tuesday] morning. We thought to get two people in so that we have more options to look at. Up till yesterday we were not sure whether Lakmal will play but he has recovered and was okay today.”
Sri Lanka had also played with three pacers in the first ODI, with Lahiru Kumara sharing the new ball with Lakmal and all-rounder Thisara Perera performing the first-change role.
“We are unlikely to make too many changes but this wicket is different to the one we played on Saturday. So taking that into account we may make a few changes,” said Gurusinha, the contradiction perhaps a peek into the hosts' troubled mindset so far in the series.
Gurusingha, part of a team and management under fire from the home media, also paid due credit to his opponents. “Give credit to Bangladesh, they have a very experienced side. Their ODI squad have nearly 1000 ODIs between them; that's a lot. They have been playing together for the last seven to eight years and it helps a lot.
“Sri Lanka is in the rebuilding stage but I don't want to use that word anymore, it's up to us to make sure that we are up and running to play at the highest level. If you are playing Tests or ODIs you cannot say that we are playing a rebuilding team. You've got to step up.”