Saturday May 14, 2022

Bangladesh are looking at ways to get out of tight spots after they repeatedly failed to negotiate the same in South Africa last month. Head coach Russell Domingo believes the batters must be more focused when batting in poor light, and be more mindful of conditions. He has also said that the team must kill off games, since Kyle Mayers’ heroics in the fourth innings at this ground last year is fresh in everyone’s memories.

“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 said that batters Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Mominul Haque stalled their innings when expecting the umpires to take them off in South Africa, but the better approach would have been to assume play would go on.
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“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,” he 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.

“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.”

Mominul said that they want to take lessons from the South Africa series, but don’t want to spend too much time thinking about it.

“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. Conditions are also different, so it is important how we can adjust here. I think its important how we use lessons from the previous series,” he said.

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Domingo also said that the batters have to rotate the strike more than hoping for a boundary-ball ever so often. “I think the important thing is to try to get singles to get off strike. 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,” he said.

Domingo however is hopeful of the bowling attack continuing their progress that they have started showing from January this year. Bangladesh are without Taskin Ahmed and Mehidy Hasan Miraz, but the good news is the return of Shakib Al Hasan, 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 a series). 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,” said Domingo.

Mominul said that they will miss Taskin and Mehidy but it is more vital to support those are replacing them. It is likely that Shoriful Islam returns, while either one of Nayeem Hasan and Mosaddek Hossain will play too.

“They had a big contribution in our win in New Zealand. We will them here definitely. One of them 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,” he said.

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Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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