Courtney Walsh may just be the coach of Bangladesh's fast bowlers, but his words when speaking to the press two days before Bangladesh's 100th Test seems to have been taken to heart by the whole bowling group judging by their performance on the first day at the P Sara Oval yesterday.
"More consistency, patience and control is what is required," he had said on Monday. Before that, coach Chandika Hathurusingha had said that bowling just 10 good balls to a batsman was not enough in Test cricket, implying that to take Test wickets greater pressure is required.
Bangladesh's bowlers applied those words in practice to the field of play. Bangladesh had bowled 17 maidens in 129 overs of bowling in the first innings at Galle. In Colombo yesterday, they bowled 14 maidens in 83.1 overs, including five maidens in the first eight overs. That is the pressure that set off a Sri Lankan wicket rush that saw four wickets fall for 70 runs in the morning session.
Mustafizur Rahman delivered 26 balls before conceding a run off the bat. And the pressure told when Dimuth Karunaratne played an airy shot two balls later to give a catch to gully. Mehedi Hasan Miraz, whose economy rate was growing into a concern after his debut series heroics, was keeping things tight and Kusal Mendis, who found a release in Miraz's second over with a swept four, paid for his anxiety to score runs when Miraz's drift beat the bat and Mushfiqur Rahim did the rest with his gloves.
If Miraz, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur and Shakib Al Hasan provided the discipline, Subashis -- constantly encouraged by his teammates to go all out -- provided the aggression. He worked up good pace and used the crease well in changing the angles of attack, and all but bullied Asela Gunaratne out leg-before after dealing him a painful blow on the toe the ball before.
Walsh had also said that Bangladesh's bowling in the third session -- they had let the Sri Lankans off the hook after bowling well in the first two sessions on the first day in Galle -- was a matter of concern. The Tigers aced that challenge too by taking two wickets and, despite the 43-run unbeaten partnership between Dinesh Chandimal and Rangana Herath, keeping a check on the run-rate in the last session.
Having done so well, Bangladesh will know that they need just a little more of the same this morning to be the dominant side in this Test.