Bangladesh batsmen ready for turning pitches

‘The 104 in the second Test is most valuable among my hundreds against England, considering the conditions and the fact that we won the game’ – Tamim Iqbal © Getty Images

Pitches that start turning quite early could become the norm in the Test matches Bangladesh play at home. The series against England was played on such surfaces, and Bangladesh competed admirably. They came within 23 runs of victory in Chittagong before taking all 10 wickets in single session to level the series in Dhaka.

While it would certainly enhance their biggest strength – spin bowling – it may also pose a challenge to the batsmen. But Bangladesh’s top three have showed signs of being up for it.

Tamim Iqbal avoided some shots, assessing their risk to be too much, on a turning pitch but still made a century at a strike-rate of 70.74 in the second Test. His opening partner Imrul Kayes was fully committed to being aggressive, his 78 off only 120 balls in the second innings helped set a target beyond England’s reach. Mominul Haque, at No. 3, was his usual composed self and contributed with his 10th half-century.

With confidence that their batsman can handle it, Bangladesh are set to welcome touring sides – especially those with a reputation of struggling in the subcontinent – with tailor-made pitches for the spinners.

“I think wickets at home will be made according to our opponents,” Tamim told ESPNcricinfo. “If we are playing against teams from the subcontinent, then I don’t think playing on such wickets will help us, but it will be different when we play against teams like Australia, England and New Zealand.”

Tamim added that standing up to tough conditions was quite pleasing. He was the only batsman from either side to score a hundred in the two Tests. “It feels really good to have made runs in these kinds of difficult tracks. The team took a decision, and we stuck by it. The planning meant that we had to work hard, so scoring around 230 runs is something good.

“I think my 78 in Chittagong has its own value. The ball spun a lot with many things out of the batsman’s control. The 104 in the second Test is most valuable among my hundreds against England, considering the conditions and the fact that we won the game.”

Mominul’s had an additional challenge. He isn’t a regular in ODIs and T20Is and was coming into the Tests having not batted in international cricket for over a year. He got a three-ball duck in his first innings of the series, the outside edge carrying off the wicketkeeper’s leg to gully, but adjusted better later on with help from batting consultant Thilan Samaraweera.

“When I was playing and got four months [off], it was very hard [coming back],” Samaraweera said, “Especially in the first innings of the first Test. However you train and whatever you do, when you come to the game, you are under pressure. That’s a different pressure. Importantly, you have to stick to the routines to get your body right for the game.

“In the first inning of the first Test, the way he [Mominul] got out, that’s hard. The first few balls, you don’t know. We talked a little bit, different things. They are willing to work, that’s the key thing. Whatever I say, if they don’t listen to, it won’t work. But these boys are absolute superstars. Straightaway they work [at it].”

Bangladesh’s limited-overs captain Mashrafe Mortaza also praised how the team read the pitches in Dhaka and Chittagong and attacked England.

“The thing I liked the most was the batting approach, it was very positive. Since it was hard to stay in these wickets, the batsmen had to score rapidly. Batsmen like Alistair Cook and Joe Root didn’t do well, so it showed that settling in these wickets wasn’t easy.

“Bangladesh’s batting was criticised because there were some bad shots and some untimely dismissals. While it is hard to deny such mistakes, what thrilled me was how they were able to read the wicket. They knew they had to play the shots, so guys like Tamim and Imrul batted very well. And at least one batsman stood up whenever necessary.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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