BAN vs SL 2022 1st Test

Allan Donald will have his work cut out this week as he prepares one of Bangladesh’s least experienced pace attacks for the Chattogram Test against Sri Lanka. The home side are missing their important spin duo in Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz, apart from Taskin Ahmed, their most in-form fast bowler.

The South African great, who joined Bangladesh’s coaching staff as the fast bowling coach in March, is focused on what is in front of him in his first home series. Ebadot Hossain is his most experienced fast bowler with 14 Tests, while Khaled Ahmed and Shoriful Islam have played eight between them. Rejaur Rahman Raja and Shohidul Islam are uncapped.

Bangladesh have been training at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium since May 8. As a result, Donald knows about the resources he has got and is banking on the young pace attack’s ability to bowl reverse swing. Shorfiul, Khaled and Ebadot have already displayed their ability to work with the old ball in New Zealand and South Africa, so with a bit of time in hand, Donald expects things to fall into place.

“The biggest thing here is old-ball bowling,” Donald said. “Today (May 12) was all about the old ball. Every training session, I have emphasised a lot on getting the ball to reverse, and be really patient and creative with the old ball. I don’t have to tell these lads about bowling on their conditions. They know what to expect. But the overall patience, and persistence, and creativity that we bring is going to be testing.”

Donald is also mindful of an early impact, so he wants the bowlers to understand what they will be expected to do with the new ball. Regardless of the attack for the first Test, the gradual build-up of the fast bowlers’ spells will ultimately dictate how Bangladesh attacks Sri Lanka.

“I have realised this week that your length needs to be a bit fuller with the new ball,” he said. “We have to get the best out of it in the first 30 overs. Getting Sri Lanka 40 for 3. The other thing is ball-conditioning. It is very sweaty and humid. Typical sub-continental conditions.

“After 30 overs, how much patience and discipline we can show by building that pressure (will be crucial). When the ball gets old, the reverse swing issue needs to come in. So it is a step by step process. It is going to be testing. Discipline, mental and creativity is going to be huge.”

Donald said that he is already impressed with the hunger of the Bangladesh fast bowling unit, particularly how they have stepped up in the last five months.

“These kids want it, that’s the great thing. My way of coaching is mindset, mental, attitude and creativity. At this level, these things run (parallel). Every single training session is to buy into creating pressure.

“Taskin has a heart of gold, he has a massive heart. Once he is back to lead the attack, we will see a lot more of the hunger. I am excited with what I have seen.”

Donald remains confident that the likes of Shoriful, Ebadot and Khaled can repeat their impressive showing in overseas Tests,

“I was really impressed with Shoriful especially in the one-dayers. I saw him in the U19 World Cup in South Africa. He was very impressive. He was already highly rated then when Bangladesh won the World Cup.

I think the bigger surprise for me were Ebadot and Khaled. I was surprised by their engine capacity. Fast bowling is about huge guts and determination. I have never seen two spinners and two seamers in a Test match before, but the way they conducted themselves, especially in Durban where they were magnificent. Apart from one mad half hour that knocked us back, I thought by bowling South Africa out in both Tests was a fantastic effort.

“I am delighted with what I have seen. I think the discussions that we had in every single training session, and the learning we get out of it, is substantial. I am pleased with where we are going,” he said.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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