Concerns over batters’ resilience on spinners’ day

Abu Sufian

When New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner was asked in the press conference after the opening day of the second Test in Dhaka between Bangladesh

and New Zealand f the match would progress beyond three days, he couldn’t help but laugh.

The reason for the left-arm spinner’s reaction wasn’t because the question was outlandish but because there is a very real possibility that the match could end well within three days.

Only one day has passed in the five-day match and 15 wickets have already fallen – which is the highest number of wickets

to fall on the first day of a Test played at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur.

The trying conditions of the pitch once again highlighted the team management’s affinity to produce tracks in Mirpur that quickly deteriorate,

which is a perfect setup to trap teams from outside the subcontinent. But it’s a trap that in the past has also exposed the lack of resilience of the host team batters and the same happened yesterday.

Opting to bat, the hosts could post just 172 runs on the board in an innings where none of their batters could go beyond the 30s.

Batting was difficult from the start, but Bangladesh batters were also guilty of throwing away their wickets with false shots.

The first Bangladesh batter to get dismissed on the day was Zakir Hasan, who came down the track to take on Santner only to give a simple catch to Kane Willamson. After losing four wickets in the morning session,

Mushfiqur Rahim and Shahadat Hossain Dipu steadied the ship with a 56-run partnership.

But after Mushfiqur lost his wicket in a bizarre manner, Dipu got caught behind his legs and Nurul Hasan Sohan lost his wicket in a suicidal shot and the hosts eventually had to settle

for a mediocre total. Mehedi Hasan Miraz, who made 20 with the bat, said that the batters could’ve scored more runs had they shown more resilience.

“It is slightly challenging for batters, but if they show commitment, they can play here. Batters have to take the responsibility. The ball doesn’t do much when it gets old on this

surface,” Miraz said in the press conference about how to approach this kind of surface as a batter.

Despite their poor show with the bat, Bangladesh have ended the day on top thanks to their spinners,

who dismissed five New Zealand top-order batters in 12.4 overs before stumps were called due to bad light.

Miraz and Taijul Islam were all over the Kiwi batters, claiming five wickets between them. The wicket of Kane Williamson, who had scored a century in the Sylhet Test, was of particular importance for Bangladesh

and it came about following some smart bowling from Miraz and a sharp diving catch from Dipu.

“I didn’t try anything big, but I just tried to confuse him [Williamson]. A confused batter is bound to make mistakes on this pitch. I wanted him to think which way to play against me. I tried to keep him under pressure.

This dilemma often produces a wicket,” Miraz, who picked up three wickets in the space of 20 deliveries, said about his ploy.

The 150-run victory in the Sylhet Test showed that the Tigers have enough weapons in their repertoire to win Tests at home even on relatively sporting pitches.

However, the opportunity to win a Test series against a top side and the World Test

Championship points up for grabs might have persuaded the management to produce another rank turner in Mirpur.

But the poor show of the batters again exposed the lack of resilience in Bangladesh batters and a similar showing in the second innings could spell disaster for the hosts.

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