Marshall finding his feet
Marshall Ayub dominated the press long before he made his international debut against New Zealand in Chittagong last week. His impeccable form in domestic cricket, where he scored two double centuries in the longer version domestic competitions in the last two seasons was enough to get him through to the bench during Bangladesh's tour of Sri Lanka.
But Mohammad Ashraful's 190 in the first Test meant that the 24-year-old would have to wait before making his debut. His propensity for long innings was depicted yet again when he scored a 157 in Bangladesh's only practice match leading up to this series.
With Ashraful out on fixing charges and Marshall in such fine form, the latter's Test debut against New Zealand this month was the odds on possibility.
On a flat deck at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Marshall looked composed. In his first innings, a 109-ball 25, he was part of a century partnership with Mominul Haque that revived the hosts from eight for two in the first innings. The second innings saw him bat fluently with a four and a six, before falling for 31 while attempting to chase a wide one.
It was a start that by no means matched Marshall's standards and the player himself acknowledged the fact at Mirpur yesterday, when the Tigers returned to their training camp following their Eid break.
“I really wanted to have a good start, but things unfortunately did not go according to plan. But runs were a little difficult to come by and I played a false shot under pressure in the second innings. It was a wide delivery. But I will try to do better in the next match,” said Marshall, who felt that he should have at least scored a 50 in his second innings.
It's just a start in Marshall's efforts to make the step up from domestic to international cricket. “There is no extra pressure in international cricket. We lose early wickets in domestic cricket as well, so we are used to batting in that situation, like in the first Test,” he said.
“It's just that the number of good balls bowled in an over in Test cricket, are higher than in domestic cricket; that is the main difference. So far it's been good,” he added.
The number three spot in the batting order has always been a volatile position for Bangladesh. Habibul Bashar came closest to filling that spot on a consistent basis. He played 43 matches and scored more than 2500 runs at number three. The next best are Junaid Siddique, Shahriar Nafees and Mohammad Ashraful who lasted for 12, 10 and seven matches at the position respectively. Marshall's fine domestic performance leads to high expectations, but only time can tell if the player can crack the number three puzzle.
The second Test between the teams begins on October 21.