Bangladesh v SL, 2nd Test, Chittagong, 4th day

Can Bangladesh summon the survival instinct?

Familiar conditions and an encouraging first-innings display show signs that Bangladesh can save the Test, but their history of fourth-innings failures suggest otherwise

Mohammad Isam in Chittagong

February 7, 2014

Comments: 14 | Text size: A | A

Shamsur Rahman and Imrul Kayes walk off the field, Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Chittagong, 2nd day, February 5, 2014
Bangladesh, as they go about trying to save the Test, can draw inspiration from how well Shamsur Rahman and Imrul Kayes played in the first innings © AFP

Survival on the final day will hinge on whether the Bangladesh batsmen are willing to get their hands dirty and to let the survival instinct take over their natural instinct to play their shots. They don't like to make too many adjustments, but they have to find their own way to save the Test match.

Coach Shane Jurgensen has already asked his batsmen to show intent, not just by cutting out cross-batted shots but by also finding a balanced approach. He also warned against giving away wickets at critical moments or in clusters, as they did in the first innings.

"The exact word is intent," Jurgensen said. "On this wicket, you can't block and survive and at the same time look to hit balls that are on a length on middle stump. If it gets difficult, we have to get through those [periods]. As a batting group, get down the other end. We need to be patient and bat the whole day. We have to learn from the two greats [Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene], and we have to do it ourselves.

"We have a young team and we don't do it consistently enough. We have to rotate the strike and do the basics well. It is something we are continuing to work on. We have a couple of 500s in the last 12-18 months. It is happening a lot more, but we have to work on the critical moments of the game. We are not quite assessing those times. We lose wickets in patches. We get out around breaks. We lack that polish, the experience."

Jurgensen said the umpiring has been frustrating the players, but asked them not to force the issue at important times in the game. "I think there is no doubt that some decisions haven't gone our way," he said. "It is a bit disappointing. We need to look forward, have some sort of a plan to come around it. I have seen for more than two years now that unfortunately, things don't go our way.

"It really affects the players. When there is a 50-50 call, as a batter you are worried about getting hit on the pads. It is trust. It gets missed when we have a Test series. It doesn't help. When we have a young team, we need to handle those situations better. We might have had some decisions that didn't go our way, but sometimes we play shots and I ask whether Nasir [Hossain] should have played that with four overs to go? It was a questionable decision but why are we playing that type of shot at critical times of the day?"

Bangladesh's track record in the fourth innings will not infuse them with too much confidence. They have been bowled out 12 times in 18 innings, and have lasted more than 90 overs on just three occasions. In their last five completed fourth innings, they have been bowled out three times, twice for under 200. The last time Bangladesh played more than 90 overs was against England in Chittagong three years ago.

Since then, they have been bowled out for 244 against Zimbabwe in mid-2011, batting for just over a session on the final day in Harare. A few months later, they had a great opportunity to bat out the final day in Mirpur against West Indies but horrendous shots from Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim put paid to another potential Test draw. The following year, against the same opponents, their chase of 245 in the fourth innings was thwarted by Tino Best's bouncer barrage.

Bangladesh's last instance of being asked to survive in the final innings of a game was a non-event, as they didn't even get to the final day. They were crushed by Zimbabwe within a couple of sessions on the fourth day in Harare last April, making the 335-run loss their lowest point in 2013.

This time they have the advantages of playing in familiar conditions, an encouraging first innings with the bat, and the fact that they have ten wickets intact as they enter the fifth day. A sound start, even if stroke-filled, from Tamim and Shamsur Rahman, would be acceptable but not so if they get into an "accident" as Shamsur said on the third evening. He meant a collapse, and if that happens, it will be over quickly.

The pitch has been playing well except for a few spots from where the ball has tended to stay low. This is a relaid ground, having been used only for the last six months. The pitch is expected to hold firm, but the Bangladesh batsmen will have to be mindful of anything aimed at the stumps and keeping low. Everyone in Chittagong is aware of what will be required to save the Test on the final day.

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

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Posted by   on (February 8, 2014, 10:44 GMT)

@Dr.Kan, ur plan and tactics is destroyed..... BD had drawn this test match !!!!

Posted by   on (February 8, 2014, 6:12 GMT)

If the pitch starts behaving oddly, then the possibility for a draw will be 40:60. Srilanka is going to miss Herath big time. The game is in the hands of the Lankans now. If they can make their chances count, they have a good possibility to secure 2-0 win. All Bangladesh can do is bat sensibly and hope that luck runs their way.

Posted by   on (February 8, 2014, 6:08 GMT)

Unbelievable. This is why Bangladesh has the most number of delusional fans. They feel they have a chance to make 450 odd runs in one day, when no team has ever made so many runs. Well, maybe if Bangladesh is bowling.If they get to the end without losing all wickets, that will be a major accomplishment. As long as there are Bangladeshi cricket fans, there will never be a shortage of kool-aid drinkers..

Posted by Dr.Kan on (February 8, 2014, 3:01 GMT)

What ever plane & tactics applied by the BD Sri Lankan Victory is unstoppable.

Posted by   on (February 8, 2014, 2:34 GMT)

The batting line-up is long. All the guys have to do is play responsibly and deliver. The target will need at least two centurions and two other big scores (between 65 and 75). That's not asking too much of this long batting line-up. But the Tigers have a habit of losing wickets in clusters and if that happens we could be staring at another humiliation.

Posted by   on (February 8, 2014, 2:08 GMT)

I think its time for Bangladesh to show their strength......just to bat the whole day

Posted by i_golam on (February 7, 2014, 20:29 GMT)

1st 30 overs will be vital , if BD can make 120/130 without a loss of wicket then only then I think BD can challange the SL score !! Good luck tigers !!!

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 18:53 GMT)

Bangladesh have a chance not only to survive, but win. Sri Lankan will probably go into defensive mode.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 17:53 GMT)

bd shoud be play first se.. without giving to many wickets away and more 90 runs on the bord they are in the game is on

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 16:19 GMT)

Early wickets and then I see a loss... similar story similar result (loss). Inshallah Bangladesh will play out the day and SL are mindful that they recently lost out to Pakistan.

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