Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Chittagong February 2, 2014

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Neil on February 4, 2014, 2:55 GMT

    Even though I support BD Test Cricket, all they ever seem to do is talk, talk, talk. They always talk a big game but never show it on the field. The last test was not because of lack of Test match practice. It was sheer stupidity. Most of the shots that the batsmen made, even the seniors, are shots that even club cricketers won't make. I have no problems with them losing Test matches but the way they play - the shot selections - is atrocious. When you have that big a deficit to overcome, play judiciously. It looked like they wanted to erase the deficit in 20 overs. They drew the Test in Galle which was nothing but a concrete track. Even the commentators were saying that a club team would be able to score 600 runs on it. Hopefully they will play better in Chittagong. Mind you, I will be watching so I can offer my armchair expert cricketer analysis. :)

  • Dummy4 on February 4, 2014, 2:26 GMT

    Razzak might make the difference. He is a veteran and could trouble the SL lions. Hope he and Sohagh can tie down the batsmen and keep the score between 300 and 400. 700 is way too much. Tamim will be gone in about 4 overs. He prefers the air conditioned comfort of the dressing room. It will be up to Sakib, Mominul, Mushy and Nasir to give us a fighting score. Good luck boys. Give us a game we can be proud of.

  • shahina on February 4, 2014, 0:51 GMT

    i think both naeem and riad should be included and squad should be: tamim,kayes,naeem, mominull, shakib,mushfiq,riad, nasir,sohag, rubel, alamin

  • Golam on February 3, 2014, 23:57 GMT

    Hope BD winn the touch & select to bat ! Hoping for 300 + in the 1st day !!!

  • Zakir on February 3, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    Agreed draw might be possible outcome if BD do well, I am always little dissatisfied with pace attackers. I am still a keen supporter of BD. I love to see the team win against any team especially higher rank ... Good luck to all the supporter and the team

  • Dummy4 on February 3, 2014, 17:44 GMT

    I have lost confidence in Tamim. He never scores a ton; a 50 is the most and that too once in a while. The batting is very weak, Once a player scores 59 he thinks his job is done. Unless they score tons they can't match the Sri lankan run machine.

  • Amir on February 3, 2014, 14:22 GMT

    Good luck Tigers! Hopefully we put up a better show in this test. Batting and fielding needs to drastically improve for us to have a chance. SL is not going to hand it to us. Go Tigers!

  • Prbath on February 3, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    "There was not much difference [between the two sides] but the way we played in the last Test", hilarious stuff,

  • syed on February 3, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    i still feel bowling should be much improved otherwise they cant win the match maybe they can draw it by good batting.

  • Hashir on February 3, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    Mushfiqur's optimism is rather appreciable, but he has to remember that being the captain, he has a role of leading by example and not by mere talk. *Not to discredit him for what he has done, but just to remind him of what he hasn't.

    But, overall I have been at times baffled by the prowess they possess, which more often than not, fails to be expressed internationally. Work hard! Play hard lads! Way to go!!

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