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B'desh hoping to mend test record vs Sri Lanka

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CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh, Feb 26 (Reuters) Bangladesh have the opportunity to put their dismal test record against Sri Lanka behind them with the start of two-match series on Tuesday.

The hosts will be in confident mood after claiming a four-wicket victory in the second match of a just concluded one-day series in Bogra on Wednesday, which snapped a 15-game losing streak against Sri Lanka.

While they lost the series 2-1, Bangladesh will have taken encouragement from putting up 231 for nine in 50 overs in chasing a score of 309-7 in the third and final one-dayer today.

''We know our test record is not good at all against Sri Lanka. But that all happened in the past,'' Bangladesh skipper Habibul Bashar said.

''This time we are confident that we can do something what we showed in the one-day series.'' Bangladesh have recalled teenage batsmen Mushfiqur Rahim in a 15-man squad for the two-test series. Mushfiqur led Bangladesh in the Under-19 World Cup, which ended in Sri Lanka last week.

The squad, announced yesterday, also includes batsmen Nafees Iqbal and Shahadat Hossain as well as spinner Enamul Haque.

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said his team will need to work hard to translate their one-day success into a test series win against the hosts.

''A test match is different altogether. You need to have a lot of patience and temperament, especially in this sort of slow wicket.

We have to work hard to do well in test series,'' he said.

Jayawardene said star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan could make the difference.

''He has taken 580 odd wickets in test cricket. So every team will want to have him in the side,'' Jayawardene said. ''His presence here for the test is of course a big encouragement for us.'' Sri Lanka have beaten Bangladesh in all five test meetings between the two sides, all taking place in Sri Lanka.

REUTERS DH RK1748

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