Mahmudullah defends batsmen's 'intent' and 'positive' approach
The stand-in captain said that batsmen had to choose wisely which balls to defend and which ones to hit
Bangladesh's attacking approach was the right choice, stand-in captain Mahmudullah has said after his side were shot out for 110 and 123 in a span of of 24 hours. Bangladesh lasted a total of 75.1 overs in the Test, with many of their batsmen taking a lot of risk on a pitch aiding spin.
Even on the third day, when a more sensible approach to chase 349 was warranted, the batsmen preferred to attack. Mahmudullah said that defending stoutly wouldn't have taken his team anywhere, although he felt that the batsmen were more culpable for the defeat than their spinners.
"If you don't show intent and remain positive on this type of wicket, if you let the bowlers settle down, you will be in huge trouble," Mahmudullah said. "But you have to choose which ball to defend and which to hit. Otherwise it is tough. When the ball is spinning, going straight, keeping low and sometimes jumping up, you have to disrupt the bowlers.
"We had to take a lot of risk to get boundaries off [Rangana] Herath, Dilruwan [Perera] and Akila [Dananjaya]. The fuller you bowled on this wicket, the more difficult it was for the batsmen. Our spinners bowled five good balls and one delivery that was easily hit for a boundary. It reduced the pressure on their batsmen. We needed patience. I think there's room for improvement in this regard. Our spinners should have done a little better but our batsmen are guiltier."
Mahmudullah spoke of "intent" several times during the press conference, when asked if a defensive approach could have helped.
"If you go by that theory [of being defensive], your success rate will be even lower," he said. "You can't play defensively on this wicket according to my knowledge and experience. The bowler will bowl six balls at you and off the seventh ball, you will be nicely caught at slip or in the sillies [silly point]. You have to play your shots. You need to have intent but at the same, you also need to know which ball not to hit. Otherwise you will get out playing the wrong shot. But if you don't have the positivity, you are not giving yourself the chance.
"We relied on the batsmen's confidence from Chittagong, which is why we made this wicket. We have a good spin attack. If you play for a draw till the third or fourth day, you go back to the same thing. So at least you have a chance to win or lose."
Mahmudullah futher said that Roshen Silva, who won the Man-of-the-Series award, showed impressive shot selection.
"Roshen had good ball selection. He batted well. He handled some of Taijul's deliveries that were spinning away outside off stump. I think the criteria for batsmen differ. I think I bat better when I am positive and aggressive. I started in the same way today. I felt that Akila will try to get me out like he did in the first innings. He moved the leg slip to cover. I wanted to defend the ball but it went to slip. I am saying this again: if you don't have the intent, chances go down significantly."
As a further example, he said that Sabbir Rahman, who made 0 and 1, was picked for his aggressive approach.
"We picked Sabbir because he plays spin well. He can apply the sweeps and reverse-sweeps. Without an attacking approach on this wicket, there isn't a chance of scoring runs."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84