Bangladesh v SL, 2nd Test, Chittagong, 4th day February 7, 2014

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

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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