A batsman cut out for Test cricket
Shakib Al Hasan may have grabbed all the headlines yesterday, but there was a debutant without whom Bangladesh would probably not have been able to accumulate the 129-run lead that placed the visitors ahead in the match.
When Mushfiqur Rahim was dismissed for a well-played 52, Bangladesh were six down for 290 and still 48 runs adrift of Sri Lanka's first innings score of 338. Things could easily have gone south from there, given Bangladesh's penchant for collapses.
But unlike many who had walked onto the field in the Bangladesh helmet for the first time in Test cricket, Mosaddek Hossain came with serious first-class pedigree. Although he has played just 21 matches for Dhaka Division in the National Cricket League and East Zone in the Bangladesh Cricket League, he has scored seven centuries and five of them each -- 282, 250, 200 not out, 153 and 152 -- have been big ones, hinting at a propensity to bat long that has given him an average of 68.87 in 33 innings.
That facility for longer-version batting was evident during his innings of 75 off 155 balls with seven fours and two sixes. Apart from a few plays and misses off pacer Suranga Lakmal early on, he appeared completely untroubled. Unlike Shakib, Mosaddek did not offer any chances as he first put on 131 with Shakib -- a record for the seventh wicket for Bangladesh against Sri Lanka -- and then 33 for the eighth wicket with Mehedi Hasan Miraz which took Bangladesh's lead past 100.
"I think that he has a big future in Bangladesh cricket. If you talk about his one-day career, or his international career -- he has made a very good start. And since I have batted with him in domestic cricket, it is not as if we were batting together for the first time today.
So whenever we bat together we are very comfortable, we don't even have to call when taking a run. It is not because we have played together long but there is a good understanding. His approach is very good and appropriate for international cricket," said Shakib when asked about his young partner.
Mosaddek's nous in how to pace a Test innings was at times uncanny. As things slowed down before the lunch break after Mushfiqur's departure, aware of the need to stay on top of Sri Lanka, he stepped out to no less a bowler than Rangana Herath and hit a six off his 21st delivery, then continued batting according to the merit of the delivery.
His handling of Suranga Lakmal, Sri Lanka's solitary pacer who hit a good rhythm either side of lunch, was indicative of his awareness and talent.
It is thought that Mosaddek is vulnerable against pace, and apart from the first over he played from the seamer when he played and missed twice, he proceeded to play the next three overs quietly and was eager to hand the strike over to his senior partner, before later unfurling a classy cover drive and an immaculately timed jab through midwicket when he had become used to the pace.