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Russell Domingo: Bangladesh lack 'belief and confidence to grab the game by the scruff of the neck'

Head coach bemoans 'silly mistakes at crucial stages' that, he says, cost them positions of dominance against Pakistan in the Chattogram Test

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
29-Nov-2021
Russell Domingo trains with the T20I squad, Dhaka, August 19, 2021

"We got ourselves in great position but we were just not able to seal the deal" - Russell Domingo  •  BCB

Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo was left frustrated by his players giving away strong positions in the Chattogram Test. Twice in the match the home side bounced back from difficult positions but just as they approached a stage of dominance, they let the game slip out of their hands.
Heading into the final day, Pakistan are 93 runs away from a win, after their openers Abid Ali and Abdullah Shafique added 109 runs for the unbroken opening stand. They put on 146 in the first innings but Bangladesh bowled them out for 286. The hosts had also recovered from 49 for 4 to put up a total of 330 thanks to Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das. But it seems all those fightbacks might be for nothing.
Domingo put Bangladesh's inability to hold on to positions of dominance down to a lack of the killer instinct.
"We got ourselves in great position but we were just not able to seal the deal," he said after the fourth day's play. "I am sure the players are also very frustrated. We seem to be making improvement in the format but they have been just making silly mistakes at crucial stages. A catch going down, or playing a loose shot or bowling a bad spell. We just can't seem to sustain for a longer period of time. It is very frustrating.
"I think we probably need to understand what to do when the moment is there. Somebody has to take that step in a high-pressure environment. We cannot wait for someone else to do it. Because we have lost so many Tests in Bangladesh's history, the belief and the confidence to actually grab the game by the scruff of the neck isn't quite there."
Nurul Hasan, who came on as a concussion substitute for Yasir Ali, threw away the last good position Bangladesh held in this game. After a bright start to the post-lunch session, Nurul holed out at long-on with his side leading by 196 runs. Bangladesh lost their last four wickets for just five runs, leaving Pakistan with only 202 to chase.
"I am not going to criticise players in the media, but I thought we were getting some momentum [before Nurul got out]. I thought we were ahead of the game. We were 196 ahead with four wickets in hand.
"Two batters were getting into a good position. We thought that if that partnership was to go for another 40-50 runs, we would have Pakistan under pressure. Then they would have had to bat for an hour before close of play. If you ask Sohan (Nurul) what he'd would do with that ball, he'd not play the same shot. He let himself and the team down with that shot," said Domingo.
Domingo's other worry is Bangladesh's top three. Shadman Islam, Najmul Hossain Shanto and Saif Hassan caved in quickly in both innings. Shadman was lbw in both innings, Shanto was iffy outside the offstump, and Saif got into bad positions against the short ball.
"It has been disappointing. I wasn't happy at the way they got out, considering the nature of the wicket. Shadman has come off a hundred in his last Test, be it five or six months ago. We are finding ourselves under pressure against the new ball.
"We are playing against a quality bowling attack. Saif is still playing his fifth or sixth Test. He is very inexperienced. Shadman has played maybe 10. It has been tough for them against high-quality bowlers, so there's a lot of work for them to do in Tests," he said.
Doming said that the Pakistan attack was successful in exposing the inexperience of the majority of the new players but, among them, Saif oozed promise.
"Saif has shown glimpses of his capability. Even in the second innings, he was starting to find a bit of confidence and form. I don't know if Saif has played this sort of intensity and pressure before.
"Yasir came to me after the day's play yesterday and said that he has never been involved in this intense a battle before in a cricket field.
"It is a new experience for a lot of these young players. They are playing against a quality side. The expectations are high. Some of the shortcomings are definitely being exposed at the moment," he said.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84