Out of the last fifty 100-plus stands by a Bangladesh pair, only five have not involved Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim or Mahmudullah. Before this Test, there hadn't been one in the last four years. Which is why the 180-run fourth wicket stand between Mominul Haque and Liton Das in Chittagong was not just a match-saving partnership, but a window into the future of Bangladesh's batting. Two young batsmen, both with much left to prove in their Test careers, brought themselves to understand the need of the hour at a crucial juncture in the game.
Tamim and Mushfiqur had been dismissed on the previous evening, and there was no Shakib. Mahmudullah and Mosaddek Hossain were the only remaining batsmen, so, had Mominul and Liton settled for flashy fifties, Bangladesh would have probably been 1-0 down. But they beautifully bucked the tradition of a Bangladesh batting implosion on the fifth day.
During the course of their partnership, Mominul became the first Bangladesh batsman to score centuries in both innings of a Test match. It was also his sixth century, although he has not felt like a settled member of the side in the last 12 months. In making 176 and 105, Mominul has laid out a blueprint for other young batsmen: stick to your natural ways, but tweak it from time to time to suit the situation.
Compared to his more lavish stroke-making in the first innings, Mominul took more control of his quick hands and footwork. But it didn't drastically affect his rhythm as he kept rotating strike. He struck five fours and two big sixes down the ground, and every time he found the boundary, the Sri Lankan bowlers found it a little harder to remove him.
The stakes were higher for Liton, who risked losing his spot if he didn't score in this innings. His judgement outside the off stump needs a lot of work - he has been dismissed shouldering arms to fast bowlers three times in as many Tests now - but he showed he isn't going to back down from a tough situation.
As soon as he felt settled at the crease, Liton nailed one sweep after another. He didn't shy away from hitting the reverse-sweeps either. He drove well too, but what made a big difference was how he shed style for substance.
Liton put value to his wicket for much of his stay, except, of course, when he tried to reach his maiden Test hundred with a six. It was the only blemish in an otherwise impressive show.
Liton's 94 also gave some validation to the enormous "potential" tag with which he entered the Bangladesh team in 2015. Senior players like Mashrafe Mortaza, Shakib and Tamim were hardly interested in talking about his failures, because they could only speak about how good he is. But after two years of struggle, Liton finally has an innings under his belt that matters.
So what do these two innings or the partnership do for the team? Firstly, in the short-term, it gives a lot of confidence to the rest of the side ahead of the second Test. Secondly, the senior batsmen can feel a little relaxed in the knowledge that they don't always have to worry about doing every little job.
If Mominul can soon take up some leadership roles with the help of Liton and Mosaddek Hossain, it will only further free up the minds of the more senior batsmen. Lastly, the Mominul-Liton partnership showed match-saving performances also matter to the younger batsmen, rather than just focusing on match-winning, heroic shows.
There was one particular example of such a mindset. It would have been convenient for Mosaddek to play strokes and reach a score that would have given him a longer rope. Instead, he dug deep, surviving 53 deliveries in a tricky period that could have gone either way.
By building through one century partnership after another, one individual contribution after another, the likes of Shakib, Tamim and Mushfiqur have become the pillars of Bangladesh cricket. Mominul, Liton and Mosaddek could now be ready to share some of the load.