Bangladesh expects better play against Sri Lanka

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons said it's the time for his players to step up against visiting Sri Lanka as the two teams prepare to play the first Test.

Updated: December 25, 2008 16:13 IST
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Dhaka, Bangladesh:

Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons said on Thursday it's the time for his players to step up against visiting Sri Lanka as the two teams prepare to play the first Test of a two match series beginning Friday.

"We played the best two teams in the world in three series in the last six months and now we have a team that, I think, should be able to compete pretty well," Siddons told a news conference in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka.

"There are no excuses. We are still a young side, still developing, but I think it's time for the players to step up."

Siddons said he expects his batsmen to score enough runs to give Bangladesh's bowlers a chance.

"I'm looking forward to that. That's the Christmas present I want," he said.

He hinted that Rajin Saleh and Sajidul Islam might not play in the first Test, while Enamul Haque could be the 12th man against the visitors.

Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene said his side would not be underestimating their hosts, despite the fact that Bangladesh have lost seven of eight Tests this year, drawing one.

"We don't underestimate the strength of Bangladesh and what they are capable of doing. So we just need to focus on the game plan that we want to play and try and execute the game plan," he said.

"I know they make mistakes, but at the same time there are guys who scored 100 against us, picked up five wickets against us. So we've got to make sure that we don't give them any advantage."

Star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who has taken more wickets than any other Test bowler, will be the key man for Sri Lanka, but spin partner Ajantha Mendis will be out for at least the first Test after twisting his ankle.

Bangladesh has played 10 Tests against Sri Lanka but has so far failed to win a single match.

Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara, Malinda Warnapura , Michael Vandort, Thilan Samaraweera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Prasanna Jayawardena, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Rangana Herath, Dammika Prasad, Chamara Kapugedera, Farveez Maharoof, Dilhara Fernando, Thilan Thushara.

Bangladesh: Mohammad Ashraful (captain), Mashrafe bin Mortaza, Zunaed Siddiqui, Imrul Kayes, Rokibul Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mehrab Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Rajin Saleh, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shahadat Hossain, Enamul Haque, Mahbubul Alam, Sajidul Islam.

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