As soon as third umpire Joel Wilson confirmed to the on-field umpires that Mushfiqur Rahim was out, the balance of the first Test became a lot more skewed. Bangladesh will have to fight without their two most experienced batsmen on the fifth day against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella later said that despite the batting-friendly Chittagong pitch, it is their game to win. He also said Sri Lanka were helped by Bangladesh's defensive approach. Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur both got out trying to defend, while Imrul Kayes' was caught at square leg off a soft lap sweep.
"We have a pretty good chance to win the Test," Dickwella said. "It is a pretty good wicket. It is all turning from the rough, and outside the stumps. We are hoping to start the day well. We are bowling in good areas, line and length.
"They went into a negative position to save their wickets and defend the balls. I don't think it is the way to bat on this wicket. The ball is turning from the rough. I think positive approach is the best way to play in this wicket."
Bangladesh spinner Taijul Islam said their approach was to score off the bad balls, but their focus will remain on saving the Test. Taijul bowled 67.3 overs, the most in an innings for a Bangladesh bowler, and conceded 219 runs, the most for a Bangladesh bowler. His returns of 4 for 219 was the most expensive four-for in Tests.
"There is a lot to think, and a lot not to think about. We have to save the game. If our batsmen can survive the fifth day, then we can get something out of it. Batsmen would like to score runs off the bad balls. It would have been better had we lost one wicket. Three wickets are too many," he said.
Bangladesh's predicament in Chittagong was largely down to their spinners' struggles against Sri Lanka's batting. Starting the fourth day just nine runs short of Bangladesh's first-innings total, Sri Lanka piled on the misery by keeping them on the field for 199.3 overs.
Sunil Joshi, Bangladesh's spin bowling coach, said that the spinners could have bowled with more consistency and shown more patience. "I think they could have been better. They could have had more consistency," Joshi said. "If you don't get wickets in the first session, you can always get them in the second and third session. You need to be patient. The young Bangladesh spinners need to understand the way they can perform in Test cricket.
"It is important for a spinner to understand to bowl a dot ball, where you can bowl one. Consistency is key for Test cricket. These spinners will learn with due time," he said.