Bangladesh v NZ, 2nd Test, Mirpur, 4th day October 24, 2013

Mominul lends spine to Bangladesh batting

Mominul Haque's defiant century ensured Bangladesh, for once, did not collapse in the third innings of a Test match

Mominul Haque surprised a lot of people today. Not because he batted like a dream, as Tamim Iqbal described it, or because he outpaced the more experienced Tamim in a defiant 157-run stand. The sense of surprise came from seeing him remain not out at the end of day's play, after having completed his second century in two Tests.

The records he has set by these back-to-back performances are numerous. A Bangladeshi batsman has hit two centuries in a series only once before, when Tamim had been in top form in England more than three years ago. Mominul also beat Tillakaratne Dilshan's tally of 366 to become the highest run-scorer in a series in Bangladesh and is four short of becoming the highest run-getter in a Test series by a Bangladeshi.

Mominul has been considered as one of the best cricketers in the country from his age-group, and not just for his talent but also for being a cool-headed, even-tempered person. It is a rare quality and although it doesn't guarantee success, he has remained almost the same person who was first spotted hitting Abdur Razzak for straight sixes two years ago in a practice match at this ground. He didn't look too flustered by the attention, just as he hadn't been when he was selected to the ODI side last year, his first international call-up, or when he scored his maiden Test century in Chittagong.

He had to be patient at a very young age too. Someone like Anamul Haque, two years younger to him in school (both went to BKSP), had hit the headlines for his string of centuries in age-group and domestic cricket. Mominul chipped away with runs, but never really caught the eye apart from one big innings for Bangladesh A in West Indies in 2011. He was never rushed in to the team like Anamul was, and that definitely helped him.

These two centuries have lit up his short Test career and there are a few similarities between them, while at the same time the adjustments he made when situations demanded them were refreshing to watch.

The 181 in Chittagong was an innings of two halves as he had to temper his strokeplay after completing a century. Despite walking in at 8 for 2, he blasted 70-odd in one evening session before hitting five boundaries to blaze to a hundred off 98 balls. It was a very Bangladeshi response to any situation, and there had to questions about his temperament for that change from his usual manner of batting.

New Zealand bowled better to him after the hundred, giving him very little to play outside the off stump. His favoured shots square of the wicket on the off side were nowhere to be seen but that didn't frustrate him. He let the likes of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim do most of the scoring, and made sure he dropped anchor.

Here at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, it was about survival from the get-go. He walked in at 55 for 2, with the team behind by 100 runs and in risk of conceding the series. Tight batting was required but there were moments, especially early on, when he played across the line as the left-arm seamers slanted the ball into him. It looked risky but the wrist work involved made sure he played the ball down, and a balanced head position helped too - benefits of extensive training over the last few months to counter his line of attack.

His off-side strokeplay, particularly shots off the back foot through point and gully, were fully controlled. His cover drives are struck in the air sometimes, but his skill in placing the ball saved him on most occasions. On the on side, Mominul picked up runs with ease, particularly off deliveries that were pitched up.

It wasn't an all-out attacking innings from Mominul, though. Tamim, his partner, had impressed the need for both of them to stay at the crease as long as possible and when Mominul was stuck on 99, unable to pierce a seven-two field on the off side, Tamim told him to forget about the hundred and just wait.

It arrived soon after, and like he did in Chittagong, the hundred was celebrated rather sedately. "Mominul has worked very hard and is getting the results," Tamim said. "I have seen very few players play so fluently for Bangladesh. Only when success comes to people they stray down the wrong path, they don't take that walk without success.

"But I don't think he is that type of person who cannot handle success; he doesn't think much about these things. I have seen a similarity in this respect between him and Shakib. Both have the same mentality. They also have the same coach. So I don't think he [Mominul] will have problems."

There will be a lot resting on Mominul going into the fifth day, especially with Bangladesh's batting not known for its survival skills. He will have to shoulder the expectations now and just like he shifted gears during his 181 in Chittagong, knuckle down and end New Zealand's chances of winning the game.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • nikhil on October 26, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    According to me this is the best bangladesh test team i have ever seen with mominul haque and nasir hussain. hope ayub and anamul also clicks. just go with these two for 5-6 more test matches. And at present robiul islam is the best bowler that bangladesh has got for test matches.

    Better to select these players instead of over-rated players like raqibul hassan, nazimuddin, shariar nafees or the greatest over-rated batsman ashraful.

  • Chris on October 26, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    Mominul Haque will obliterate bowling attacks of India and Sri Lanka. I have no doubt he will score double hundreds against these teams. Bangladesh next test series is against Sri Lanka anyway so just watch and no doubt Bangladesh will get another draw/win after what happened earlier in Sri Lanka. He is much better than Pujara who is also 2 years older than Mominul :P

  • Jubair on October 25, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    Well done have showed ur class in the test series against the New Zealand. I think, the performance spreads a message towards the cricketing world that Bangladesh is emerging as one of the strong cricketing nations with an enriched stock of young players like Mominul, Nasir, Anamul and many more. at the same time, BD under-19 team last week won a 7-match ODI series against WI under-19 team by 4-3 margin in the Caribbean.

    The ICC should consider more test matches for the tigers in the upcoming years to help them show their capabilities.I hope the show will continue in the three-match ODI series. Best of luck tigers.

  • Dummy4 on October 25, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    mominul just missed the title of highest scorer in a series by 3 runs

  • Chris on October 25, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    Bangladesh found a gem. Now its time to translate that into ODIs where he hasn't gotten to the best of starts but hey? it even takes time for talented youngsters to come into effect.

  • maruf on October 25, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    mominul is talented player still have to go so far. don't give him pressure.

  • Dummy4 on October 25, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    congrats to the new little master

  • Dummy4 on October 25, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    We need more like Shakib. And now it is Mominul Haq. As we know many a little, makes a Mikel. Then we will aspire for big. Not just us, Bangladesh herself believe this.

  • Nasim on October 25, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    Nice article from Isam. "He was never rushed in to the team like Anamul was, and that definitely helped him." - Can't agree more. So is the case of Marshall, which is a good sign of increasing pool of cricketers. I'm eager to see how he copes faster bowlers in away grounds. Yes, Mominul and Marshall will build BD batting stronghold with Tamim, Shakib, Mushfiq, Nasir and Mahmudullah for the next decade inshallah.

  • Dummy4 on October 25, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    carry on monimul...we always support u..