Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are set to face off for the 11th time in a Test series on Sunday in Chattogram. Sri Lanka are already Bangladesh’s most frequent opponent in the five-day format. The Tigers have played 22 Tests against the Lions, which is four more than Zimbabwe and West Indies.
As soon as the first ball of the match leaves the bowler’s hands on Sunday, Sri Lanka will edge Zimbabwe and become Bangladesh’s most recurrent opponent in Tests in terms of matches and number of series.
Ashraful still rules the roost
Bangladesh cricket’s first superstar Mohammad Ashraful has not played a Test for Bangladesh since April 2013. He last played a Test against Sri Lanka in that same year.
Despite not playing against Sri Lanka for over nine years, he is still Bangladesh’s highest run-getter against the island nation. Ashraful has made 1090 runs at an average of 45.41 against the island nation. He has also struck five centuries and a half-century against them.
Ashraful, however, is at risk of losing his top spot to Mushfiqur Rahim, who is trailing him by just 47 runs.
Mushfiq, Tamim in race for 5000
Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal are in a race to become the first Bangladeshi batsman to accumulate 5000 runs in cricket’s most regal format. Mushfiq is currently leading the race by 84 runs, as his run count currently stands at 4932 while Tamim is at 4848.
But as an opener, the home boy Tamim has the chance to make up the deficit in Chattogram and beat Mushfiq to the milestone. Mushfiq should also back himself to complete the milestone at one of his favourite hunting grounds, the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
Mominul with a chance of equaling Sangakkara
Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque has a chance to match former Sri Lanka batsman and one of the best left-handed batsman to play in the last two decades Kumar Sangakkara if he can score a century in the Chattogram Test.
Mominul currently has seven centuries at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, the most by any batsman at the venue. The Tiger’s Test captain currently has the fourth most number of centuries on a single ground.
If he can manage another ton in the Chattogram Test, he will go one place up in that list and join Sangakkara, who has eight Test centuries at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo.
The second position in the list belongs to South Africa’s Jacque Kallis and Australia’s Sir Donald Bradman, who have scored nine centuries each in a single ground. The top place is occupied by another Sri Lanka great Mahela Jayawardene, who has 11 Test centuries to his name at the SSC in Colombo.
Kusal Mendis doubles Bradman’s average
Sir Donald Bradman’s Test average of 99.94 is a part of cricket’s folklore. It’s widely accepted as a fact that the Australian batsman’s record will never be matched, let alone surpassed. But Sri Lankan batsman Kusal Mendis could make the absurd claim that he is twice the batsman Bradman ever was, at least when the match is taking place at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram.
The Sri Lankan top-order batter averages 196.00 in Test cricket at the ZACS. But the reason behind this ridiculous number is that he has played only one innings at the ground. It was the run fest Test at the ZACS in 2018. Bangladesh had posted 513 in the first innings and in reply, Mendis scored a brilliant 196 while Dhananjaya de Silva and Roshen Silva also struck centuries to power Sri Lanka to 713-9d.
Mendis will get a chance to better his average in the Chattogram Test. But one bad outing will bring his average crashing down.