Russell Domingo: 'When we have a bad session, we have a really bad session'
Bowling unit a positive, but Bangladesh coach wants batters to find ways to avoid collapses
Bangladesh are looking for ways to get out of tight spots in Test cricket, something that hurt them repeatedly in South Africa last month. But how? Russell Domingo believes the batters must be more focused when batting in poor light, and be more mindful of conditions. He also wants the team to be ruthless, and kill off games, as Kyle Mayers had done so memorably last year in Chattogram, where the first Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka Test will be played from Sunday.
"When we have a bad session, we have a really bad session," Domingo said. "If we lose one or two wickets, we can't lose five. It is something we are trying to address all the time. We are trying to stay calm in the dressing room, so that the batsmen stop the rot.
"Against Pakistan, we were 200 ahead and then we lost wickets. Against the West Indies, we probably should have won the [Chattogram] Test when they chased down 395. We won the Test in New Zealand. We played really well in the first four days in the Durban Test. The challenge is to sustain that in the second Test.
"I definitely think we have the ability to beat any side if we play really well for the full five days. Not for four days."
Domingo pointed out that top-order batters Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mahmudul Hasan Joy and captain Mominul Haque had pretty much downed the shutters during the Durban Test, expecting the umpires to call off play in the failing light. The better approach, he explained, would have been to assume play would go on.
"Two years ago, we wouldn't have played under those conditions with the light being that dark. But with Test cricket wanting to play as much as you can, we have to be willing to face that," Domingo said. "I think sometimes you are thinking that you will come off the next over. You have to expect to play the entire day because of lights coming on and umpires keeping you on the field for as long as possible. That's a big change in mindset.
"We are confident that we can take 20 wickets in the Test. But we need to have five bowling options. We have been short in that particular department when Shakib doesn't play. Someone who can bowl those 12-13 overs a day, which is so important"Russell Domingo on missing Taskin Ahmed and Mehidy Hasan Miraz
"You can't just be playing to get to the end of the over. You have to play as if you are playing till the close of play. We need to make that mental shift. You have to keep looking to score, you can't keep blocking out those last overs. You are thinking it is three overs, but it might be 16 overs. You find yourself under pressure.
"Maybe we did a bit of that in the Durban Test when Shanto was batting with Joy and Mominul. They stopped playing, and we lost a few wickets. We have to play in dark conditions because stadiums have lights, and laws of the game are changing."
As for Mominul, he wanted the team to learn the lessons from the South Africa series, but didn't want to spend too much time thinking about the results.
"Batters tend to overcome what they did in the previous series. We are also thinking along similar lines but we don't want to spend too much time thinking about the previous series," he said. "Conditions are also different, so it is important how we can adjust here. I think it's important how we use lessons from the previous series."
As for more micro elements, Domingo wanted the batters to rotate the strike more often and not wait for boundary balls. "I think the important thing is to try to get singles to get off strike," he said. "Whether that means we are using the paddle, using your feet or going deep in the crease. Maybe we are just blocking and looking for the four ball a bit much."
Domingo, however, was hopeful of the bowling attack continuing its progress. Bangladesh are without Taskin Ahmed and Mehidy Hasan Miraz, but the good news is the return of Shakib Al Hasan, though likely at limited capacity.
"I told the bowlers this morning that we got 36 wickets in two Tests in South Africa. I don't think Bangladesh has got that many wickets [in an overseas series in the past]," he said. "We are confident that we can take 20 wickets in the Test. But we need to have five bowling options. We have been short in that particular department when Shakib doesn't play. Someone who can bowl those 12-13 overs a day, which is so important."
Shoriful Islam was likely to slot in, while one of Nayeem Hasan and Mosaddek Hossain should play too. "They had a big contribution in our win in New Zealand. We will miss them here definitely," Mominul said about the missing players. "One of them [Mehidy] has developed into an allrounder too. They were quite settled in the side. But it is an opportunity for those who replace them, so that they too can say that they deserve the spot."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84