Newly appointed Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood, in his first media interaction after taking up the role, said that the bowlers need to make a difference within the first two overs and set the tone with the new ball. Ahead of the first Test, Bangladesh fast bowling coach Allan Donald also spoke about the utilization of the new ball. The former Protea quick said that the bowlers have to get the best out of it in the first session.
The pitch is generally on the flatter side when teams from the subcontinent visit Bangladesh and as the ball gets older, it becomes increasingly difficult to find breakthroughs. Moreover, Bangladesh didn’t have good starts in their last three Tests with the new ball and that made a huge difference.
“I have realized this week that your length needs to be a bit fuller with the new ball. We have to get the best out of it in the first 30 overs- getting Sri Lanka 40 for three. The other thing is ball conditioning. It is very sweaty and humid. Typical sub-continental conditions. After 30 overs, (it is crucial) how much patience and discipline we can show by building that pressure,” said Donald.
The fast bowling coach pointed out that after the first 30 overs, it is going to be hard work for the bowlers and that’s when creativity and discipline will come into play.
“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 and creativity is going to be huge.”
Donald stressed on sticking to the process and quickly figuring out what is the ideal area to bowl. “Just the emphasis on the last couple of days of training was, how important that new ball is, where we need to find the hot zone, and invest in it a lot longer. Not to look for glory balls, inswing, outswing. We have to stick to the process.”
Ebadot Hossain and Khaled Ahmed bowled decently with the old ball in South Africa. Ebadot, in particular, showed in New Zealand how dangerous he can be when it starts to reverse. Donald has been putting a lot of emphasis on reverse-swing bowling in these conditions.
“The biggest thing here is old ball bowling,” said Donald. Today was all about the old ball. Every training session, I have emphasized 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 in their conditions. They know what to expect. But the overall patience, persistence, and creativity that we bring is going to be tested.”
Shoriful Islam will be back in action after missing the Test series in South Africa due to injury. Donald was impressed with the young quick when he first saw him in the 2020 Under-19 World Cup.
“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.”
Donald also heaped praise on Ebadot and Khaled who bowled with a lot of heart in South Africa and said that bowling South Africa out in both Tests was a fantastic effort.
“I think the bigger surprise for me was 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 SA 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.
He was all praise for Taskin Ahmed too who delivered the goods with an injured shoulder in South Africa. “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.”