A majority of the national cricketers enjoyed a day off at Galle yesterday. Since it was the day after the warm-up game, the Tigers had an optional session at the Galle International Stadium, which saw players who did not participate in the warm-up, along with Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim, show up.
The last time Mushfiqur played at Galle he had become the first Bangladeshi to score a double hundred. He seemed to relish that memory while training there yesterday. He posted a photo from the ground on his Facebook account yesterday, something that he does not do very often, and wrote: “Galle, here we come again. Please pray for us.”
It was learnt that the rest of the players were also confident about playing at Galle. There is a good chance that the first Test, which is set to begin on March 7, will see a good batting track. It may not be as flat as the one on which Mushfiqur scored his double hundred back in 2013, but the Lankans may not want to take the risk of playing on a traditional turner with the likes of Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Shakib Al Hasan in the Bangladesh ranks.
Liton Das kept wickets in the warm-up game and he is expected to do the same in the first Test. The question that remains is who Liton will replace in the playing eleven.
Sabbir Rahman did not play the warm-up game and Liton batted at seven in place of him. Mushfiqur Rahim played at four in place of Mahmudullah Riyad, who batted at six.
Going by the changes in the batting order in the warm-up game, there is a high chance that Sabbir may not play the first Test. That could mean that Riyad might have to return to his old role of playing with the tail.
Riyad's good form had seen him promoted to number four, however with Mushfiqur relieved of his wicket-keeping duties, he is likely to start a new innings by batting at four.
Riyad has batted at six only twice in his career, but he has had a good run while batting at eight for Bangladesh. At number eight, he averages 41, which is actually more than what he averages at four, 32.45. He could use that experience to guide the tail whenever the team needs a late resurgence.
After the first Test the Tigers will return to Colombo to play their 100th Test at the P Sara Stadium on March 15.