Sri Lanka say unfazed by Shakib's return to Bangladesh
Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne said his team was not fazed by the return of Bangladesh's star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan ahead of the first Test starting Sunday in Chittagong.
Shakib, Bangladesh's leading wicket-taker in Tests, was initially ruled out of the game because of a Covid-19 infection -- but was cleared Friday to play after testing negative.
"When we came here, we knew the Bangladesh squad. So Shakib was there, and we were preparing for him as well. So it doesn't make any changes for us," Karunaratne told reporters on Saturday.
He admitted that the 35-year-old star player's absence would have given the visitors a "big advantage".
"But he's playing and we were prepared for that," he said.
The return of Shakib, ranked number four among Test all-rounders ahead of England's Ben Stokes, was subject to his fitness, but skipper Mominul Haque on Saturday confirmed he would play.
Karunaratne said that he expected Chittagong's pitch to be flat, meaning that Sri Lanka need to score "a lot of runs" to pressure the hosts.
"It seems like it's a good, flat wicket. But when we do the homework right, we can make a change here, and if we do those changes I think we can go to Dhaka (for the second Test) on a winning note." -AFP