Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Colombo, 1st day March 16, 2013

Bangladesh batsmen fail to adjust to conditions

Bangladesh's poor batting on the first day of the second Test can be put down to a failure to adjust to conditions and an inclination to play their shots

The term 'external shock' belongs to the world of economics but the phrase can also possibly explain the effects that factors like a sporting pitch or a slow outfield can have on the Bangladesh batsmen. On the first day of the second Test, they put together a below-par performance on what turned out to be a good batting pitch. The outfield was frustratingly slow but the effects of that should have been restricted to the viewers. The 21st-century sportsman is expected to be adept at handling shocks.

As soon as the fifth ball of the match stopped short in front of the boundary rope, it was evident that it would be a long day for the batsmen. Bangladesh picked up 12 boundaries and a six in the 83.3 overs they batted, in addition to 34 twos and eight threes. Most of these twos and threes came in the first 56 overs, before the innings' highest partnership came along. Nasir Hossain and Sohag Gazi got 59 out of the 20-odd overs they batted for the seventh wicket partnership against a much older ball, but until then it was a different story.

Two backfoot punches and two drives from Mominul Haque got caught up in the outfield and he had to settle for three runs on all four occasions. Nasir Hossain and Jahurul Islam also missed out on boundaries on more than one occasion. They had to settle for twos and, as the innings went into the third session, the Sri Lankan outfielders came in a few metres because the ball wouldn't go too far.

In the three previous Tests in the 2012-13 season, Bangladesh had batted at a higher tempo during the first 56 overs of their first innings. In Galle, the batsmen picked up 23 boundaries in the first 56 overs, which helped the batting order settle into a rhythm. They hit more boundaries in Khulna (26) and Dhaka (31) against West Indies and, although it gave them a varied score in those innings, it suited them. They tend to find a proper tempo by hitting boundaries.

The criticism is not about their inability to find boundaries - that depends largely on their individual skills and it was actually quite difficult to take the ball over the ropes in this outfield. The batsmen should have understood the need to adapt to conditions as soon as it was quite clear what the outfield or the pitch offered.

This is where many a Bangladeshi batting line-up in the past and present has struggled. They do not deal well with the externalities and seemingly struggle whenever something out of the ordinary happens in a cricket match.

One would have thought scoring 638 runs in the previous Test would have given them an insight into handling large phases of the game but this seems like a long-term problem which, given the cricket schedules these days, would have to be solved by trial-and-error. In Test cricket, the margin for error is minimal so they could struggle whenever the conditions are not what they had expected it to be.

Though it finished badly, the innings had early promise when Jahurul and Mohammad Ashraful batted diligently in the first session. But the eagerness to pick up boundaries was bubbling under the surface. It probably resulted in Mohammad Ashraful's run out, and it certainly affected Jahurul's mindset in the second session when he chased at a wide one after painstakingly settling himself down for nearly three hours.

Mahmudullah fell to a forceful shot but he could call himself unlucky after the ball had deflected off the wicketkeeper's pad and was well caught by the Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews. There was no footwork and he had not scored a boundary off the 25 deliveries he had played until then. Mushfiqur Rahim's dismissal could not be directly blamed on the lack of speed of the outfield, but was influenced by what was happening at the other end and probably put him in doubt against Rangana Herath.

Mominul Haque looked calmer than most of the batsmen on the first day, but he too has been known to rely on finding boundaries. He looked comfortable for most of his 98-ball innings and later said it was a good pitch to bat on.

It is hard to say which of the other batsmen would agree with him. There has to be more emphasis on having batsmen mentally prepared for scenarios beyond their control. It can be done through training camps in a build-up to a series, but a lot of these adjustments have to be made as they play. It doesn't sound easy, but neither is playing Test cricket.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    DarkTiger!Don't be too nice and apologetic! Our players played well! ICC should look into the matter of introducing a paddy field to play test cricket and then mowing the same before there players bat! In galle they complained of making "roads", as if it is Bangla who made that pitch! After loosing the fourt wickets now I feel if the Galle pitch was not a 'road' Lanka would loose the match by innings! Lanknz faz! Pls don make funny excuses when it is the visitors who are playing in your yard! One more thing! If Srilanka cannot manage to prepare a quality test pitch, outfield and a stadium they should not boat around--we are this--we are that! Hah!

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Re: AnanthX and Baseball Sucks: Hopefully we'll see some different reports from Isam and some different comments from you two, when SL also finds it difficult to score high and play. 4 down now, let's see what happens. Hope we'll still have you two to comment and Mr. Isam to write the revised article for Cricinfo.

  • golam mohammad on March 17, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    Statistics suggest that Mahmudullah should not be promoted up the order. His averages by batting positions are 4th-16, 5th-20.28, 6th-11, 7th- 18, 8th- 42.21, 9th-15.66! He is infact one of the top number 8 batsmen around! Why people want him to be dropped from team!

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2013, 4:28 GMT

    i guess we are thinking too much about the pitch and then came the outfield...too much to handle I guess :D but in the first few hours we tried hard..the way this team is playing they will only get better...on the other hand disappointed with the ground conditions..we certainly did not need that :D

  • Farhan on March 17, 2013, 0:12 GMT

    Well the out field gonna be same for both team so there is no point complaining about it. (As the match referee have said). yes our team lost a lot of run but they can run 3 in that case would have lost just 1run instead of 4. Running between the wicket was rubbish its a shame :/

  • Mike on March 16, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    Bangladesh lost 60 runs due to the jungle outfield that's a fact sorry to say all on video.

  • Sarah on March 16, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    @Rafelgibt ; You are way outta your league buddy when you talk about the professionalism of SL Cricket. The outfield of a bit sluggish due to the heavy rain on previous night.It wasn't our fault. But the ground management did everything to get the match started on time. Do you know that Sri Lanka is the only country that covers entire field ? If it had happened in Aussie, the 1st day of the match would have been called off. SLC may have internal problems to sky high. But when it comes to Cricket, They are the best in the business. If you are not happy with our curators n so on, why have you taken a Sri Lankan as your chief curator? lol. On the other hand, I didn't see any professionalism from your players today. I mean they do get paid to play Cricket, right ? They were lazy n out of fitness. If had watched the game, you would have seen how commendatory were disgusted by the poor athleticism of your players. They were literary out of gas. May be thats why you lost all those runs.

  • Ananth on March 16, 2013, 20:22 GMT

    I wonder, I wonder.

    Maybe Bangladesh simply aren't good enough to play at this level.

  • Mike on March 16, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    Its true our team played like school kids today just because boundaries were hard to find doesn't mean they cannot get the runs that's why its called TEST Cricket. All they had to do was really nothing and just occupy the crease but they didn't. I just hope it was an off day but really should've lost no more than 4 wickets.

  • KH. RAFIQUE on March 16, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks on (March 16, 2013, 17:34 GMT) Thats the thing i was talking about what you have just mentioned.If you listen to intelligent people then you will learn something.I'm not bothered about we got all out for 240.Im bothered about the 100 runs which is missing from our scoreboard due to sluggish outfield which simply suggests the lack of professionalism in SL cricket.And as claimed so called superior CRICKET force dont you think some how SL cricket is on spot for lack of responsibilities to do properly?By the way ISAM is always being critical on Bangladesh cricket to be honestly speaking.

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