Bangladesh v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Mirpur, 1st day October 21, 2013

Tamim fails to learn his lessons

Tamim Iqbal, Mominul Haque and Shakib Al Hasan were happy to play away from their body whenever the bowlers offered any width, and it proved their undoing

There is usually a predictable winner in the battle between a left-hand batsman playing with an angled bat and a fielding captain persisting with attacking fields behind point. Despite the number of runs Bangladesh scored in that region on the first day of the second Test, the New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum came out on top.

Tamim Iqbal, Mominul Haque and Shakib Al Hasan were happy to play away from their body whenever the bowlers offered width. Nearly half of Tamim's 17 boundaries came between the wicketkeeper and point. Three of Mominul's eight boundaries, and all three of Shakib's fours came in that region.

When the ball was too short outside off stump from New Zealand's three left-arm quicks, they were deservedly punished. When it was fuller but still wide, Mominul's used his wrists to send the ball to the boundary. And even when it was much fuller, Tamim wasn't letting scoring opportunities go. The ball would hit the edge and find its way through the slips.

During this period, McCullum moved his slip fielders around: sometimes four were standing close together, sometimes they were spread wider, and at others there was only a slip and a gully. There was a yawning gap between the wicketkeeper and gully at times too, while McCullum dabbled with pairs of gullys, short covers and short midwickets.

Tamim might have been encouraged by the two lives he got early in his innings. BJ Watling and Ross Taylor let him off behind the wicket on 5 and 10. Other batsmen may have played more cautiously after those reprieves, but not Tamim. To go from 70 to 86, Tamim drove airily past point, bludgeoned a cover drive and twice edged the ball past the lone slip and gully.

It was his highest Test score since his last century in June 2010, and another ton was approaching. His first boundary in the nineties was a dab past the slip fielder, but off the next ball, McCullum finally had his man.

Tamim was cramped for room by the bustling Neil Wagner, but he had managed to squeeze the ball out by using his bat like a ramp. Kane Williamson leaped and took the catch. It was heart-breaking for Tamim, but there was no one else responsible but the batsman himself. His game is one of high stakes: survive and thrive, or fail.

Tamim's shot wasn't as bad as the one played by a well-set Mominul. Tamim had nearly got the ball past Williamson, who had to cover some distance to take the catch. Mominul, on the other hand, gifted his wicket away to Corey Anderson, who bowled a delivery that was short and wide.

Mominul is the calmest batsmen among the hot heads in the Bangladesh line-up. The best treatment for Anderson's delivery would have been to leave it alone but rather than bat his way, Mominul decided to cash in, but perished.

While it is a new lesson for Mominul, Tamim hasn't learned from several similar lessons over a Test career that has spanned nearly six years. He has managed five half-centuries in 22 innings since his 108 in Manchester in 2010. Against West Indies in 2011, it was a slog sweep on 52 and a wild charge on 83 that led to his dismissals. Against the same team the following year, it was an absurd pull to mid-on. Against Sri Lanka earlier this year, Tamim tried to chop a length ball that was not there to be cut. On most of those occasions, his dismissal hindered Bangladesh's progress.

Playing it his way has been Tamim's mantra. He has had moderate success in international cricket so far, but his method has stopped him from scoring a Test hundred for over three years now. He has only one more Test innings in 2013. For someone like Mominul, Tamim's stunted growth in Test cricket should be a strong message not to take anything for granted. Be it talent or a wide, short ball way outside off stump.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bang on October 22, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    Absolutely correct title.

  • Wamiq on October 22, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    Frankly focusing on the century itself is missing the point, and perhaps compounding the problem. Had he reached 100, I would have bet a large sum on him falling without reaching 110. Bangladesh batsmen are too focused on these milestones - hence such a disproportionate number of them falling between 40-60 and 90-110. Even on his double century, Mushfiq reached 200 and promptly fell without scoring another run. Fans and analysts often jest when this happens, but really it says a lot about the Bangladeshi batsmen's mentality, and partially explains their inconsistency. A batman's approach may have to change based on the situation, but it should be about the overall situation of the game, not one's individual figures. Tamim, and many other players in the side, lack this perspective.

  • Dinesh on October 22, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    this comes to attitude & temperament I think. Tamim is a brilliant batsman. But in international cricket no run is easy. Bowlers comes hard at you, no matter what the surface is. And most of the times they will try to get you early, doesn't matter that you are a Cook, a Dravid, a Chandrapal or Amla or Ponting, Kallis and many alike. But what makes them different is, once you are out of initial phase of your inning, make it count. If you see youngster like Root or Pujara, being an Indian he is where I find solace, he has long way to go, same is true for Root , but fact is once these guys dig in, dig in deep and they score big 100s or doubles. No, surface does not matter, that matter only for ur initial slug of say first 50 balls. Whether you are playing in Mirpur, Perth or Lords, once you get your eye in, make it count. Thats what Tamim seems to be missing. And this time around he don't even have any excuse of carrying the team on his shoulders, I c good batters around him in BD team

  • Dummy4 on October 22, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    The key to Bangladesh's recent success in test cricket is they have found more batsman with sound technique who can score quickly but they are yet to find players with test cricket mentality except Mushfiq

  • Reg on October 22, 2013, 1:11 GMT

    Something like 2000 cricket tests have been played so far, and no previous skipper has felt the need to carry on in the field like McCullum has in this game. He is obviously hoping to get very very lucky, and for his stupidity then to be mistaken for genius.

    And for heavens sake, can SOMEONE organise some slip catching practice, which should focus on not dropping catches meant for someone else. The performance of this team, and especially its "captain" is become worse than any mere joke.

  • Dummy4 on October 21, 2013, 21:42 GMT

    I think Tamim was simply trying to reach his 100 after a long time (3 years). He is gifted and has the tenacity to work on his weaknesses. I guess instead of technique heneedsto work on endurance, stamina and fitness so that he can concentrate for 3-4 sessions instead of tiring out or losing it after 150 balls. Only then will we see him converting 50s to 100s and 200s like Shewag,Lara or Ponting. His technique is good enough its just endurance that he needs to put a hell of an effort in if he wants to reach greatness.

  • Shipu on October 21, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    Tamim needs to watch how Alastair Cook bats. Cook is an opener and this guy is averaging more than 10 runs than Tamim's career average in both ODIs and Tests. Why? because Cook uses his brain and knows how to approach an innings. Tamim at the moment cannot do that.

  • Corey on October 21, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    Man Bangladesh fans are a bit harsh on Tamim. The difference of 5 runs if he got to that century. I bet the comments would be a lot different. Theres not much praise of what an awesome innings it was, yeah he gave a couple of chances early but he definitely made us pay for those drops catches. From a NZer well done Tamim, that was a great attacking innings, and the harsh comments should not be directed at him it should be towards the other batsmen who got starts and got out. Marshall, Mominul and Shakib for making what could of been Bangladesh's day more even or slightly in favor of NZ. Lets hope the rain stays away for what is going to be an important first session on day 2

  • Syed on October 21, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    His scores are undermining his immense talent, like shakib and Ashraful they all should have had more centuries. Looks like the new boys Mominul and Marshall Ayub look good to get more centuries. However if Nasir was to play in the top order he would get plenty of centuries as he is a guy you would expect to get a huge score since he is very reliable.