Mushfiqur urges batting prudence
Captain Mushfiqur Rahim has asked the Bangladesh batsmen to groove their shot-making in the second Test against Sri Lanka. The Chittagong track is expected to have less bounce than Dhaka's, but handling of shorter length deliveries has been the biggest talking point during the series.
Ahead of the series, there was a lot more confidence in the Bangladesh side after they had achieved their first drawn Test in Sri Lanka last year, where Mushfiqur scored the country's first Test double-hundred and Mohammad Ashraful struck a career-best 190.
But the scenario changed quickly and confidence dipped in Dhaka where Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal used the short ball to a lot of success, even to the likes of Tamim Iqbal who couldn't hold down his hook shot while the likes of Mominul Haque and Shakib Al Hasan continued to pull the ball even though Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews set leg-side fields.
"Bowlers will try to bowl at a shorter length in wickets that don't have sideways movement quite naturally," Mushfiqur said. "Maybe this wicket won't have that much bounce like Dhaka. It might be more difficult to duck. They can play their pull shots, but make sure they play with control. This is our message to the batsmen. If we can avoid giving them a breakthrough, then later on we can create pressure on their spinners.
"There was not much difference [between the two sides] but the way we played in the last Test, there now seems to be a difference. To be honest, we haven't played this bad in the last 18 months. But we have a good record in Chittagong, so we are confident. It is a big opportunity."
Catches were dropped and a stumping missed as Sri Lanka piled on 730 for 6 in the Dhaka Test. Bangladesh's bowling was made to look worse with several chances going down in the field. Mushfiqur believes that a turnaround is possible if the batsmen can take up more responsibility and complete their basic task - scoring runs.
"It is not that easy to turn around. But any team would have had such a bad Test. We don't have much to change, other than the mental attitude. We have to focus on our basic work, and not fall in their traps. We know what they'll do against us.
"If our batsmen can play with a little more responsibility, then maybe it will be a better game for us. This is how one can turn around. It is a new game, so an opportunity for us."
The relaid surface at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium is just over six months old, where taking wickets will be harder than in Dhaka. In their last game here, New Zealand started off well but Bangladesh scored over 500 runs, and then Sohag Gazi took a hat-trick in his six-wicket haul to bring some life into the game on the last day.
"I know we are still capable of taking 20 wickets but first we have to take the catches. They have some great players and I hope we will take advantage of the opportunities we come across. Wickets are spin-friendly so Shakib and Gazi will have some help. We have Razzak and Riyad in our squad, so we will have a decision on them. I hope they deliver in these conditions.
"I don't feel the ground makes much of a difference. But an X-factor does work. Gazi would now think that I took a hat-trick and six wickets here, so it might play in mind. We have to play, and its not that easy. They might plan something different, but we are ready. The batsman has to take control of the Test match, and I hope they get to do it," said Mushfiqur.
The second Test match at the start of a three-month international schedule, particularly after losing the first Test was lost so badly, is going to be a lot about how Bangladesh can regain the momentum that has steadily built in the last year and a half.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here