On a dull day, Mustafizur Rahman has been the only Bangladeshi bowler who bowled with enough intent.
Dhananjaya de Silva 173
Kusal Mendis 196
Roshen Silva not out 87
Sri Lanka 504 for 3 at stumps
Yes, this has been the story of Day 3 of first Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at Chittagong. It was a dull day of Test cricket which even led one of the officials of Bangladesh cricket team to fall asleep. As soon as Sri Lanka posted 487 runs on the board, Chittagong deck gifted thousand runs within three days. Sri Lanka ended the day with just nine runs behind of Bangladesh’s first innings total.
Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Mendis were struggling six or seven months back, but this deck helped them to regain their run-scoring mojo as they notched up runs all the park with great fluency and also scoring at 3.5 runs per over. The three spinners of Bangladesh were made to toil hard on this wicket as they struggled to find any sort of help from the wicket.
Taijul Islam, Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Sunzamul Islam bowled 117 overs in between them and bled 379 runs. Among them, Miraz went at a rate of 5.10 runs per over. They tried to vary their pace at times but on a wicket which required a bit more pace, delivering the ball a bit slower are expected to get hammered. Even though in the final session, the average speed of Bangladesh spinners clocked around 80 to 87 kmph, but their lack of pace in early part of the day did not fetch anything better.
On such a barren day for Bangladesh, it was Mustafizur Rahman, who impressed than the spinners. With the first new ball, he pitched the ball around that good and full area more and hardly erred his length and line. He beat the bat a couple of times with his away going deliveries from round and over the wicket and at times, he tried to generate pace to unsettle the batters.
Mustafiz showed more intent with the second new ball. He pulled his length back and started to bang the shorter ones. Even on a dead track he did not think about bowling defensively but stuck to his attacking line and length. His shorter length brought Bangladesh the wicket of dangerous de Silva who was accelerating the run rate and at one point Sri Lanka’s scoring rate in second session was 4.78 runs per over. But as soon as de Silva was outweighed by a shorter delivery, Sri Lanka’s scoring rate slumped to 2.7 runs per over in final session.
In the final session of Day 3, Mustafiz bowled his heart out. What did he not try? He dished out a barrage of short-pitch bowling, offcutters, away swingers, in-coming deliveries and pitched the ball up to Roshen Silva and Dinesh Chandimal. Most importantly, he attacked the top of offstump and even was seen pitching it on a middle and line stump line to bring the ball back in and then cut it away from the back of length without even thinking about the outcome as because, such a line on dead wickets are always at risk of getting hammered. But Mustafiz showed the courage to bowl with attacking intent.
I wish Bangladesh think tank thought of picking an extra pacer who could not only have provided Mustafiz with the much-needed support but would have given the cutting edge to this attack which lacks teeth to take ten wickets.