Mustafizur Rahman’s short-burst at the fag end of second day was a matter of positive intent which the spinners of Bangladesh failed to exhibit.
The morning session of second day of the second Test was nightmarish for Bangladesh. It was a Bangladesh team which gave the impression of a newly appointed Test nation and lack the skill and experience to cash in on their own wicket. They lost five wickets for three runs, a scenario which was quite normal in the early part of last decade. But, at present, such sort of collapses are hard to digest as Bangladesh have improved as a team since 2015.
The manner of dismissals were so childish! Liton Das, who was expected to deliver his best today, attempted a shot away from his body with no footwork at all and dragged a Lakmal-delivery onto his stumps. Akila Dananjaya castled Mahmudullah Riyad with a beautiful delivery but Sabbir Rahman decided to follow the footsteps of top-order and left the scene without disturbing the scorers. The tail showed no intent to fight and left Mehidy Hasan Miraz stunned at the other end.
A lead of hundred runs is already huge and whatever Sri Lanka will add to this, will only create pressure on the home team. But in any format of the game, the exhibition of a fighting spirit always makes a huge difference. Those fight back, always keeps the hope alive. When Chandika Hathurusingha was around, Bangladesh played with the never-say-die spirit and bounced back in style to surprise many. But, this Bangladesh team doesn’t have a Chandika around. This team is like an ice sculpture in a desert. They melt under pressure easily.
With the track turning square and the ball jumping from the good length area, the spin-attack of Bangladesh should have come out all guns blazing. But neither Taijul Islam nor Abdur Razzak could create an impact. Taijul, who pitched the ball more up to the batsmen yesterday, continued to bowl on a shorter length and wide of off only to bleed runs while Razzak erred a lot with his line – it’s tough to pick wickets with a leg stump line.
After leaking runs, Taijul and Razzak looked for containment which is a negative and fruitless ploy on such tracks. Their negative tactics only allowed Sri Lanka to settle and stretch the lead. Roshen Silva’s wag and wheel tell us how Razzak and Taijuls’ poor bowling allowed him to score fluently through backward point, cover, long off and fine leg.
Mehidy Hasan was trying his level best to create an impact from one end, but he was lacking the ideal support as all of a sudden, the shoulders of Bangladesh team dropped.
But one man showed how to bowl with a positive intent and claw back into the game when wickets are hard to come by.
The man was Mustafizur Rahman
Mustafiz had been the stand out bowler for Bangladesh today.
In the 56th over, he was brought on by Mahmudullah to for a short-burst and he did not let his captain down.
He started the inspiring spell from around the wicket, pitched one on a good length and made it move away from Dilruwan Perera who poked it to Liton Das. He followed it up with another good length delivery and lured Akila to poke – Liton grabbed another catch and Mustafizur was on a hat-trick. Lakmal survived the hat-trick.
He bowled a three-over spell and mixed his cutters along with usual deliveries very well. The speciality of Mustafiz had been his length. He pitched the ball more on the good and back of a length rather than full. Moreover, he was able to achieve contrast swing at a sharp pace.
Even in the early part of Sri Lanka’s innings, Mustafiz was effective. His line of attack was not on a defensive side and attacked the top of off more often. He bowled positively throughout the day and taught his colleagues the importance of positive intent.