'Batsmen need to make better decisions' - Hathurusingha
Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha has said his batsmen have to take better decisions and make technical adjustments for an improved performance in the Colombo Test starting later this week.
The visitors were back in business on Sunday with those on the bench training in the steaming afternoon. Imrul Kayes, who arrived in Colombo on Saturday evening, had his first bat along with Sabbir Rahman and Mosaddek Hossain, who will hope for a berth in the middle-order in the next game.
Hathurusingha, who was overseeing the work in the nets, said batsmen would need to defend or attack with the situation in mind, and not for the sake of it. Shakib Al Hasan, at the end of the fourth day's play in Galle, had said Bangladesh's batsmen needed to find a balance between defending and scoring runs to remain confident in their bid to save the Test.
"When you say we are defending and attacking, it comes down to your decision-making," Hathurusingha said. "It is what we need to improve - which ball to attack, which ball to defend. Whether you want to go either way, you have to make good decisions. To make decisions, you need to assess the conditions, the opposition's game plan and have the awareness. You can't say, you go and attack and that's my game.
"In this game, when we had a long partnership, we were looking to score. At times, we were too defensive but that's because of whether it is a mental block or the opposition bowling well or the condition of the pitch changing. They need to make that good decision."
Hathurusingha didn't criticise the soft dismissals of Shakib (first innings) and Mushfiqur (second innings), with both tickling Lakshan Sandakan deliveries that were going down the leg side. But the coach said they must read the left-arm wristspinner from the hand rather than off the pitch.
"Those two dismissals have a lot to do with reading the spin from the pitch," he said. "If you read it from the hand, you get into better positions. This guy was bowling variations - wrong 'uns and chinaman. I think our guys read the ball from the pitch, which gave them very little reaction time. It is your natural reaction to score runs when it is on leg stump."
Hathurusingha said the buck stopped with the bowlers' ability to take 20 wickets in the game, which will enable them to win a Test. But in 46 away Tests so far, Bangladesh have only bowled out oppositions twice in the same game on three occasions. They won all three times, last doing so against Zimbabwe in 2013.
"Turning around [in Colombo] is applying what you practice," Hathurusingha said. "We need to find a way to take 20 wickets. We have a very young attack. We are asking too much of a team trying to find their feet in Test cricket. It is a fact.
"Take Shakib out of the bowling attack, and Shakib is not the same bowler from 2010 who used to run through teams in helpful conditions. We are playing away now. The other four bowlers have combined for just 15 Tests."
Hathurusingha said the bowlers must not only look to bowl wicket-taking deliveries, but make sure they build their way into dismissals. He said that a breakthrough Test win will show them the right direction.
"You have to set up the batsmen to take wickets, so that intelligence comes with playing in the middle; [no matter] how much we send messages and talk, it will take time," he said. "The opposition also have plans and skills. We are improving and learning, once we get into a strong position and have the breakthrough win, I think we will start doing better."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84