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'We should have batted better' - simple as that, Shanto says after Bangladesh's sub-par show

He stressed that Bangladesh batting only left-hand batters in their top four was not the issue

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
01-Sep-2023
Najmul Hossain Shanto scored half of Bangladesh's runs in their first Asia Cup match, against Sri Lanka. Extending his bright form from the last ten months, he got stuck in to the Sri Lanka bowlers and tried to stitch partnerships in the middle overs only for Towhid Hridoy and Mushfiqur Rahim to fail to build on their starts.
Shanto lasted till the 42nd over and missed out on his second ODI hundred, possibly hampered by the procession at the other end.
Pallekele is a venue where teams win averaging 280-plus batting first in day-night ODIs. Shanto said that Bangladesh batted first because they knew even a slightly lower (that 280) total would have been hard to chase but a lack of top-order partnerships cost them the game.
"Our initial plan was to look to score around 250-260," Shanto said after the game. "Batting was quite easy against the new ball, but it got harder as the ball got older. It wasn't an easy wicket, but we should have put together partnerships in the top order. We should have batted better. We don't want to make these mistakes in the next game.
"We thought we should bat first after looking at the wicket. We all agreed with the captain and coach's decision. We didn't bat well. I wouldn't call it an easy wicket, but we should have batted better."
Bangladesh lost debutant Tanzid Hasan, Mohammad Naim and Shakib Al Hasan within the first 11 overs. Shanto and Hridoy, and later Rahim, tried to revive the innings but the Sri Lanka bowlers kept them on a leash with regular wickets. The tail caved in quickly and predictably.
They faltered against the unorthodox pairing of Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana, who shared figures of 6 for 51 in 15.4 overs. Shanto, however, said that neither the type of bowling nor the fact that Bangladesh's top four was made up of only left-handers - for the first time in 12 years in an ODI - hurt them.
"I would rather plan and prepare for the next match rather than think too far ahead. If we can beat Afghanistan, we will think about the other stuff"
Najmul Hossain Shanto
"We were prepared to face all types of bowling, so we are all capable to bat in any situation and against any bowling attack. I don't think [the top four being left-handers] was a big problem," he said. "We don't have such bowlers in our country. We prepared with whatever resources we have. He [Pathirana] is a good bowler. But I will say that we have done well against good bowling attacks. It didn't happen today. It will be okay in the next game."
Shanto said that their most recent performance against Afghanistan - beating them in the T20I series at home last month - will be on their mind as they face them in Lahore.
"We did well in the T20I series against Afghanistan," he said. "We didn't do well in the ODIs [which they lost 2-1], but we are not too worried about the past. We have a good team. We believe that if we can play our cricket, we can get a good result against Afghanistan.
"We have to win the next game. I think it is possible [to make to the next round]. But I would rather plan and prepare for the next match rather than think too far ahead. If we can beat Afghanistan, we will think about the other stuff."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84