Butterfingers cost bowlers again
If bad luck in the Bangladesh team had a face, it would probably be Taskin Ahmed's. The pacer, who is making a comeback to the Test side after four years against Sri Lanka, has been repeatedly denied deserved wickets by his teammates.
Even during the limited-overs series in New Zealand ahead of the Sri Lanka tour, Bangladeshi fielders were regularly guilty of dropping catches and unfortunately, most of those were off Taskin's bowling.
The tall pacer's hard work has been reflected in his bowling right from the first Test and that continued in the second Test on a Pallekele pitch which offered very little to seamers.
On the first day, Najmul Hossain had dropped a straightforward catch at second slip when Dimuth Karunaratne, who went on to score a century, was on 28 and the youngster dropped another easy chance to send back Ramesh Mendis from the same position and off the same bowler: Taskin.
Even when the fielders did manage to take catches, they were interestingly not keen on appealing. The curious incident occurred when Angelo Matthews edged a ball from Taskin going away from his body to wicketkeeper Liton Das but both bowler and keeper did not appeal although replay showed the batsman had edged the ball.
It was not just about dropped catches, but the field placements from skipper Mominul Haque also raised questions as left-arm spinner Taijul Islam was stationed at a specialist point region and failed to grab a catch. This time, Pathum Nissanka gave a straightforward catch at point to Taijul off the bowling of Abu Jayed.
According to Taijul, who normally fields at point or gully region which the likes of Jonty Rhodes and AB de Villiers have made famous, said that dropped catches were part of the game.
"Normally I field at the point or short gully region in Tests, depending on the situation. Dropped catches are part of the game but that drop may have forced our team to go on the back foot. If I was able to take that catch, we could have been in a very good position. But it's not like I don't field at point," said Taijul yesterday.
Bangladesh's fielding, especially catching, has remained below par over the past few series due to a lack of specialist fielders, whether it be at slip or even in the important point region.
Bangladesh fielding coach Ryan Cook has been with the team for the past three years, with the Bangladesh Cricket Board even extending his contract after the 2019 World Cup. But as things have been shaping up for Bangladeshi fielders recently, the team management and Cook will both have to come up with a better approach. Or else the likes of Taskin and others will keep suffering despite giving their best with the ball in the coming days as well.