Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Galle, 2nd day March 9, 2013

Chandimal's scruffy ton comes with a lesson

Dinesh Chandimal's maiden Test hundred was riddled with chances, yet he continued to back himself and motor along - Bangladesh's batsmen should take note

Dinesh Chandimal will have fond memories of achieving his maiden Test hundred, despite the perilous path he took to get there. For the Bangladesh players who watched him make an unbeaten 116, there are lessons to pick up from the young batsman's undaunted focus, as they seek to reduce the deficit on the third day.

The 23-year-old Chandimal offered four catches, all of which were dropped, and survived a close leg-before shout during his 151-ball innings. Yet throughout all this, he didn't abstain from playing his shots. He hardly looked bothered by the happenings around him, as he hurtled along. Compared to the centuries by Kumar Sangakkara on the first day, and Lahiru Thirimanne, who also got to his first in Tests, Chandimal's was much riskier, but it spoke of the ease with which he handled self-inflicted blows with confidence.

The first three chances came thick and fast from Chandimal. The first he prodded airily at, but the edge wasn't held by Jahurul Islam at gully. Several minutes later Abul Hasan threw himself belatedly at fine leg, only to drop the offering. The third chance during that spell came another over later when he chipped one towards midwicket, and Jahurul dove forward, but didn't grasp it fully.

But as they dropped catches and felt aggrieved by their lack of traction on proceedings, they should have picked up on Chandimal's tenacity. Bangladesh batsmen in the past, and present, have had a hard time dealing with the "little things", as coaches like to call them.

These breaks in focus come from a range of incidents. From a slight break in play due to sightscreen adjustments, a loud appeal or some sledging, to more complicated matters like a bowling change, a dropped catch, a run-out, a session break, the impending end to a day, or when the batsman at the other end gets out. The Bangladesh batsmen often have a break in concentration as soon as something out of the ordinary happens.

Out of the two wickets that fell on the second day, Anamul Haque's unnecessary ploy of trying to go inside out against Ajantha Mendis falls into this category. Against a new bowler who has a bagful of tricks, the sensible approach would have been to pick Mendis' variations, before trying anything against the spin. But as soon as the bowler came on, Anamul began moving around too much in the crease. This resulted in his dismissal after batting so diligently till that point.

Against West Indies in 2011, Mushfiqur Rahim threw away a potentially match-saving innings, right after Shakib Al Hasan had got out playing an ugly shot, failing to keep his focus on the job ahead. Raqibul Hasan found it hard to deal with loud appeals by West Indian medium-pacers during the same series, while Shakib once ran all the way to a person who hadn't moved from in front of the sightscreen. All of these batsmen are exceptionally talented, but they often lack the edge that young batsmen from other countries seem to have. This is almost certainly due to more practice in dealing with such things in their domestic circuit.

Chandimal handled it differently this time. He batted to his strengths and backed himself every time. One must also remember that he is the new vice-captain who almost missed this Test match because he was part of the recent contract dispute with the Sri Lanka board. As he moved past the initial anxiety, he took full advantage of width offered by the fast bowlers. He was severe on the spinners too, making sure he got to the pitch of the ball, and taking it on the full, as he drove regularly, occasionally clearing the infield.

Chandimal probably gained clarity from the chance that was dropped at midwicket, as he immediately went after Sohag Gazi, the bowler who suffered the last of those drops, taking two boundaries off him with assured footwork. On 31, Elias Sunny had him caught on the crease off his first ball of the morning but it was turned down, and the innings hurtled along. A few runs after he had reached the coveted century, Chandimal hit one straight to long-on where Mahmudullah dropped a sitter. It was that sort of a day for Bangladesh as they struggled to balance a better day for the bowlers with a terrible one from the fielders.

After his century on the first day, Sangakkara asked youngsters like Chandimal, new captain Angelo Mathews and Thirimanne to aim for "35 to 40 Test hundreds" by the end of their respective careers. The manner in which Chandimal went about his maiden ton, there will be greater hope towards the realisation of this goal. Hundreds are commended if the batsman offers little, but sometimes when he can withstand a number of distractions and still get there, some praise should also go his way.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 11, 2013, 21:48 GMT

    prasanna is a great keeper but a useless batsman.he has one or two hundreds but in betweeen there are loads of failures..Those who say they want PJ back have no idea about what they talking as that would cost the place in the team for either lahiru or chandi - two of worlds best young talents ! .And CHandimal is not that far away behind PJ as a keeper and he can be even better in future..WHat has PJ done to call him the best keeper ? He dropped crucial catches against Ind in India(Sehwag twice) , when India played in SL (Sachin`s) and in last series where he dropped 2 catches against kiwis..I am not saying he used any influence but Chandimal should have replaced him 2 years back..if that happened by now CHandi is one of the best in the world

  • Rajith on March 10, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    In my team PJ is still WK for me. Chandi could play as specialist batsman. But I need my worlds best WK for test. Enough said....

  • Dummy4 on March 10, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    @Ramesh Dharshan Perera - Dude PJ is still the best keeper we have... and lately he has performed with the bat as well. Chandimal just wasn't good enough to get into the side as wk/bat. Chandimal is a very good batsman but nothing more than a ordinary wicketkeeper.

  • Sam on March 10, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    Dropped catches are distractions in the sense bogeys are distractions while playing a round of golf. Unlike bogeys, the dropped catches don't show up in the final scorecard so Chandimal was lucky. Playing the next ball instead of worrying about the dropped catch off the previous ball is the right attitude but let's not praise Chandimal too much. When he plays his next round of golf, the bogeys will hurt him because others won't compete as poorly as B'desh. Chandimal should put in more work into shot selection and concentration.

  • Yohan on March 10, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    @ Ramesh Dharshana Perera - It s disgusting to see you stated tht Prasanna J destroyed two years of Chandimmal s career . PJ has earned his place in team being the best wicket keeper in the country . In tests you need the best keeper coz one drop could make a huge difference . I dont think PJ was in team due to any influences . Now since he is getting old Chandimal can be used .

  • Chandima on March 9, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    Don't think this is the best of efforts by Chadimal. Had BD taken any of those chances there won't be an innings to write about. The only good thing I can see in his effort is that it was a selfless innings. He did what the team needed at that moment - get quick runs.

  • Sunil on March 9, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    There was a time when playing cricket for SL was restricted to English speaking Colombo elite. Best they could do were to praise and congratulate visiting teams with their fluent English.

    Growing up in the 50/60's, I dreamed the village boy gets the opportunity to show real talents of the land. Heartening to see these boys excel in world arena.

  • Dummy4 on March 9, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    Chandimal was not at his best but still scored runs..thats the hellmark of a great batsman.HE should have been a regular player long time ago..Prasanna destroyed two years of his career.Chandimal . Thirimanne , Mathews and Dimuth has the ability to be some of the greatest batsman of their era..interesting times ahead for SL

  • Sanjay on March 9, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    Day 3 is an important day for BD, they must save the follow on first, and then aim to get as close to the SL score as possible. Good to see the much-maligned Ashraful batting well, he seems to a have a liking for playing against SL. If they continue to make the mistakes Mr. Isam desribes, it'll be curtains in this Test and rest of the series.

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