'All I can say is brain-fade'
Bangladesh's end-of-day and end-of-session blues continued yesterday. Openers Soumya Sarkar and Tamim Iqbal had held off Sri Lanka's opening burst, although both survived chances, and were looking comfortable on Bangladesh's fourth century-plus opening stand.
However, Tamim Iqbal's 'brain-fade' as described by coach Chandika Hathurusingha after stumps, took a bit of the gloss off the effort. The picture grew much duller when Mominul Haque stepped back to a sharp turner from Dilruwan Perera and was trapped in front with six overs to go to the close.
From 118 for no loss Bangladesh ended the second day of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on 133 for two, 361 runs adrift of Sri Lanka's 494 all out.
“He [Tamim] hasn't spoken to me yet,” coach Hathurusingha said about Tamim's run-out 10 overs from the close. The left-handed opener had played and missed at a ball from Lakshan Sandakan down the leg side and, perhaps thinking that the ball had brushed his pad and gone past the keeper, set off for a run only for keeper Niroshan Dickwella, who was appealing for a caught behind, to whip off the bails.
“But what I think, you know, the buzzword now is brain-fade, isn't it, in cricket? That's what happened there,” said Hathurusingha with a smile.
“Very disappointed because we were cruising at that time. They were batting very well, there were no demons at that time. Actually he [Tamim] batted really well. I was very pleased with the way he approached the innings. He probably thought that the ball had gone past the keeper. Only thing I can say is brain-fade.”
The press conference was held in a pretty jovial mood, as both sets of media personnel knew Bangladesh's Sri Lankan coach well. However, he rued the lack of experience in his bowling ranks.
“I am not quite happy with the young bowling attack we have. You take Shakib [Al Hasan] out, the other bowlers have played 15 Test matches between them.
“I am disappointed in the no-ball [Subashis Roy's no-ball dismissal of Kusal Mendis on the first day], but you can't do anything about it. On a flat wicket, losing the toss and keeping them under 500 is a fairly good effort. Obviously, would have liked to get that wicket; it would have been different.”
Despite the end-of-day wickets and the missed opportunity on the first day, Hathurusingha seemed in a confident mood ahead of the third day.
“I would think it's an even day for both teams. There is a long way to go in this Test match. And it's too early to predict something. Getting 133, we are 360-odd runs behind.
“The wicket is still good. The wicket is going to get slower and a little more spin-friendly and that's a challenge ahead for us.”
He was also pleased with the batting of Soumya Sarkar who, after being dropped on four by Dilruwan Perera at gully off Surnaga Lakmal, ended the day unbeaten on 66, his second Test half-century.
“It's up to the batsman to decide how he wants to approach his innings,” Hathurusingha said when asked whether Soumya should continue batting the way he did on the second day. “But the way he batted was encouraging, knowing that he is normally a strokemaker and he played according to the situation. The Sri Lankan spinners came back well and pulled our run-rate back; that's what they do well here.”
In keeping with a more confident Bangladesh team, the coach was bullish about his team's chances. “I'd like 600, if we can,” he responded when asked about a safe score. “The first innings is crucial; we are trying to get as close as possible or more than what they have got. I think we are good enough to get over 500, that's what we think. Whatever runs we score tomorrow are going to help us either to win or draw on the fifth day.”