Four missed opportunities took the sting out of the Bangladesh bowlers' workmanlike effort on the second day of the Test in Mirpur. Al-Amin Hossain suffered the most, though his efforts were notable, as the Bangladesh bowlers continued their struggle at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.
Shakib Al Hasan's three wickets at the end of the day brought relief to a bowling attack that looked flat for long patches. Al-Amin's only wicket, of Kumar Sangakkara, came with the second new ball, but his morning spell could have had better returns.
Al-Amin had Kaushal Silva dropped by wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, who took the next chance, only to see the bowler had bowled a 'Finn no-ball' - hitting the stumps at the non-striker's end during delivery. In the next over, Silva edged to gully where Shamsur Rahman dropped one that sped towards his right.
"I was unlucky," Al-Amin said. "Two catches were dropped and I had the caught behind off that no-ball. I felt bad, because I was bowling well today. I have never bowled that no-ball, this was the first time. I consoled myself that there will be further chances and I will take full advantage of those. But I kept trying to bowl the same way.
"It resulted in Kumar Sangakkara's wicket. I thought he had missed the catch but luck was in my favour on that occasion. But Mushfiq bhai and the rest supported me a lot which helped me get that wicket. Players like Sangakkara and Mahela [Jayawardene] play for long."
A lot better was however expected from Robiul Islam and Rubel Hossain, as well as Sohag Gazi whose bowling once again looked perfunctory at best. Robiul is at his fittest since returning from a hamstring injury but, while he was tight in spells, the zing he can produce was not to be seen. His tendency to flick the ball slightly wide of his intended line didn't work as the chilly atmosphere did little to help the ball.
Al-Amin possibly carried out his coach's plans well. Shane Jurgensen, who doubles up as the team's bowling coach, had asked the young bowler to keep Sangakkara honest outside the off-stump, and it resulted in the wicket, but not after he had cruised to 75. They have a plan for Mahela Jayawardene too, but that has not yet been fruitful.
"Bowling in the right areas creates chances," Al-Amin said. "Coach told us where to bowl to each particular batsmen. So I thought I would create more chances. I couldn't do it with the older ball but once I had the new ball, I bowled better.
"We are shown video footage, also on paper sometimes. Coach told us to bowl on the fourth stump to Sangakkara. We have plans for Jayawardene, and we will try that tomorrow. The wicket is not very helpful. We can call it batsman-friendly. We are trying to implement the plans the coach gave us, which is batsman specific."
Once again, Rubel doesn't look like a pace bowler who is bowling to any plan. He looked compromised at times but he and Robiul have time in hand and the opportunity to bounce back quickly. Gazi bowled slower towards the end of the day, when his offbreak spun more.
Shakib's tally of 35 first-class wickets at this venue is the highest among Bangladesh's current attack, while Gazi averages 27.17, having taken 28 wickets. Robiul has the most wickets among the seamers, with 15 scalps at an average of 37.33, while Rubel averages a whopping 120.66.
There is much work left to be done in the Test but, as far as pace bowling is concerned, Jurgensen will have to be patient to see his plans work, with more sense applied by the quicks where necessary. It promises to be a long haul for Robiul, Rubel and Al-Amin.