Number three at sixes and sevens | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 19, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 19, 2021

Number three at sixes and sevens

A stable top order remains one of the things that the Bangladesh team has been searching for over the years, especially in Test cricket.

Although the team management somehow sorted Tamim Iqbal's opening partner by pairing him with Shadman Islam, things remain unsettled at the crucial number three position.

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Skipper Mominul Haque has been a prolific performer for the Tigers at number three since 2014 and the left-hander has shown his class in that position in the longest format.

Among his ten Test hundreds, Mominul has struck three against Sri Lanka. Two of those came batting at number three.

However, since being appointed Test skipper, Mominul was demoted in the order and has featured at number four in recent times.

The Bangladesh think tank have been trying out alternatives at the number three position, giving chances to four different batsmen in their last seven Tests: Liton Das, Mosaddek Hossain, Mominul and Najmul Hossain Shanto.

Young Najmul did show a glimpse of his talent upon being promoted to number three position against Pakistan last year, scoring 44 and 38 in two innings.

The 22-year-old, highly-rated by the team management, also proved his worth in the next Test against Zimbabwe the same year where, scoring a fluent 71.

It seemed that the Tigers may have found a settled number three batsman in Test cricket, but the left-hander failed to utilise the opportunity to cement his place at number three position due to a lack of consistency.

In the following four innings earlier this year at home against a relatively inexperienced West Indies side, Najmul would score 25, 0, 4 and 11 as the Tigers faced a humiliating 2-0 whitewash defeat which again raised questions about a solid number three batsman.

More importantly, the manner in which Najmul got dismissed in both Tests despite making promising starts raised even more concerns. The left hander was unable to resist the temptation of going after bowlers in a rather limited-overs fashion and paid the price. At times, bowlers perfectly set him up and he naively gifted his wicket away in crucial situations.

With the upcoming two-match Test series in Sri Lanka scheduled to begin from April 21 in Kandy, one of the most important aspects for the team management will be to have a solid start provided by the top in order for Bangladesh to put up a fight.

The only time Bangladesh managed to draw a Test match and score over 600 runs in an innings against Sri Lanka was back in 2013, when Mohammad Ashraful scored 190 after coming in at number three.

Bangladesh will be aware of the fact that stability at the top can lay a strong foundation for a big total and the number three spot is probably the most important of all.

 

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