The good work of the bowlers had been wasted by the Bangladesh batsmen who were shaky in the middle.
The ball was expected to dominate a bit in Mirpur after International Cricket Council (ICC) rated the pitch at Chittagong ‘below average’ where 1533 runs were scored at the cost of just 24 wickets! Such tracks deserve such strong actions as in a five-day contest there must be a balance between bat and ball and it attracts more eyeballs when the ball is slightly dominating the bat. Perhaps keeping this fact in mind, the curator prepared a wicket which offered turn for the spinners in the first hour of Day 1 and at stumps, one can say, it had been a great day of Test cricket.
It would have been satisfactory for the stand-in captain Mahmudullah Riyad if he won the toss, but the way his bowlers started off the proceedings, one would feel, Mahmudullah was not unhappy after losing the toss. The lost-action-hero Abdur Razzak gave them a rollicking start while Mustafizur Rahman and Taijul Islam used the conditions very well to bundle out Sri Lanka for 222 – a score, which is considered to be competitive enough on this tricky surface, but if a batsman cut short his attacking instincts and rely on executing defensive shots, this track can be tamed.
The Bangladeshi batsmen, while fielding, witnessed the partnership between Roshen Silva and Dilruwan Perera, where they executed defensive shots more and rotated the strike rather than surrendering to panic attack when Sri Lanka were reeling at 116 for 6.
According to Cricviz, “Since the fall of the sixth wicket, the pair of Roshen Silva & Dilruwan Perera have batted off the front foot to 66.6% of the deliveries they faced. Before that, it was at 56.9%. The defensive shot percentage has risen to 32.6% in this stand to 20.7% earlier”. Even though Kusal Mendis scored by pivoting on the back foot more, but as the day progressed, the track was giving evidence of extravagant turn and exhibited wickedness and thus, it demanded composure rather than displaying attacking instincts.
Mendis largely cashed in on the shorter stuff delivered by Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Abdur Razzak at the earlier part of the day and flexed his muscles to fetch runs as you never know when the nature of this track can change. And for which, according to Cricviz, “Mendis camped more on back-foot (42%) than Silva (22%) and played defensive shots off just 18% of the deliveries to 27% from Silva”.
Bangladesh in disarray
When Bangladesh came out to bat, the inform batsmen, who enjoyed a run-feast at Chittagong on a Zahid-Reza-deck, were devoured by a panic attack in the twinkle of an eye. Tamim Iqbal started off in a commanding fashion by drilling the second ball from Suranga Lakmal down the ground for four, but one thing Tamim forgot, he’s not well-equipped to execute the defensive shots when it is needed the most. Yes, he scored a gem on the same ground two years ago against England, but he was batting first and applied the same method which Mendis applied today – score as much as possible against short and bad deliveries.
In the next ball, Lakmal delivered a good length ball which was simply needed to block by going behind, but his natural instincts to score runs off every ball forced him to go half-forward – a return catch to Lakmal silenced Mirpur.
Let me tell you, it was not a wicket-taking delivery.
Mominul Haque – the Coach needs to crack the whip. School boys will do better!! #BANvSL Bat in air run-out!
— Vincent Sunder (@vincentsunder) February 8, 2018
Then in the second over, Mominul Haque, the scorer of two hundreds on a dead deck, paid the price of committing a schoolboy error which deserves no mercy. He was run out for keeping the bat in the air. It might be acceptable for a tail-ender, but for a top order batsman, such mistakes are absolutely annoying. As ESPNcricinfo commentary said, “All he had to do was stretch forward and ground his bat. But he’s limping forward with the bat in the air, holding it like a flag, making possible a run out that never should have happened. This is atrociously shoddy”
Panic sets up in the Bangladesh batting lineup.
1st one he LEFTS it, 1nd one he LEFTS it…… Athar Ali Khan goes ballistic on air seeing replay of Mushfiqur dismissal!! 🙂 #BANvSL
— Vincent Sunder (@vincentsunder) February 8, 2018
Mushfiqur Rahim was looking shaky at the crease. He survived a couple of nervy moments in the middle where he was struggling to use his feet and time the ball well. Lakmal delivered him two deliveries on short of a good length, moving in towards the top of off, which he left dangerously. Lakmal repeated it for the third time and again, Mushfiq shouldered arms – the timber was disturbed. Certainly, you are out of words when you see the best batsman of Bangladesh team is not sure about his offstump and struggles to judge the length.
Was it a wicket-taking delivery? NO!
With two overs remaining, Imrul Kayes attempted to play for the turn against Perera. He was trapped plumb in front and there was no need to take a review. Kayes went for the review and returned to the dressing room by wasting it.
Lack of ability to handle pressure
It seems Bangladesh are crumbling under pressure easily at present. During the days of Chandika Hathurusingha, Bangladesh developed the skill to handle pressure and fight back. But gradually that character of Tigers is fading. We watched how the hosts failed to live up to the expectation in the final of Tri-series and even on a dead deck, they were found wanting by the scoreboard pressure. Things remained the same in Mirpur where the loss of one or two quick wickets set jitters in batting lineup.
Sri Lanka bowled smartly, but they did not pick wickets by virtue of brilliant deliveries as Bangladesh surrendered to panic attack.