Young Bangladesh batsman Mominul Haque plays an attractive back-foot square drive on way to scoring a match-saving hundred on the fifth day of the second Test against Sri Lanka at Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong yesterday. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das
At a time when Bangladesh's top order has been struggling to find its feet with some of the more experienced batsmen being guilty of giving in too easy, Mominul Haque has over the last two years steadily gone on to become arguably Bangladesh's most dependable batsman.
The 22-year-old's century yesterday, which saw him gut it out for more than three hours on a fifth-day wicket where the ball seemed to have the ability to turn across the width of the pitch, was just another example of the enormous talent that he possesses.
Statistics perhaps best describe how important he has been in the top order. With 753 runs at an average of 75.30 he has been Bangladesh's highest run-scorer in Tests for the last two years, comfortably beating the likes of Nasir Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan.
The same period has also seen him face 1236 balls at the crease, falling short of only Mushfiqur Rahim who played three more matches than the youngster over the last two years. His third hundred yesterday means that he just needs one more to go level with Tamim Iqbal and three more to match Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh's highest century-maker.
Despite the fact that the left-hander has played just seven Tests, he is already expected to surpass the standard of batting set by the Mushfiqurs and Tamims.
He was praised by Mushfiqur at the end of the Test yesterday, who described his innings as 'one for the team'. The left-hander himself is learning with every game and that was obvious from the fact that he rated yesterday's hundred ahead of the 181 and the 126 that he had scored against New Zealand in the last series.
“I will rate this century ahead because I had to work very hard right from the beginning. They bowled in very good areas and we were under pressure of surviving the last day,” said Mominul.
His innings of course was not perfect. He did give away a few half-chances, with one particularly close chance at silly point in the early stages.
“It was difficult because the spinners used the rough areas on the wicket very well, the ball kept low and they used it against us. My plan was just to bat out the hours. I probably was a bit lucky to be there,” he added.
Yes, the stats are on his side, but that he is likely to make it big in the near future is perhaps best reflected in his attitude. It seems to be a combination of Tamim's guts, Mushfiqur's devotion, Shakib's intuitive feel for the game and most importantly, a hunger to learn more. This last quality was best described by his reply to a question about the most memorable moment of the series. His reply: “Definitely Kumar Sangakkara's innings. He batted almost up to infinity. There's a lot to learn from him.”