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Match Analysis

Mominul: 'Our batting has totally collapsed in this series'

Chris Silverwood praises the Sri Lanka quicks for showing "a lot of heart, determination and passion"

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
02-Apr-2024
Mominul Haque cuts a dejected figure after falling for a counter-attacking 50 off 56  •  AFP/Getty Images

Mominul Haque cuts a dejected figure after falling for a counter-attacking 50 off 56  •  AFP/Getty Images

Mominul Haque took the blame for playing a part in Bangladesh not capitalising on a good batting pitch on day four of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Chattogram.
Bangladesh had their best batting day of the two-Test series as they crossed 200 for the first time in five Test innings, but a number of batters failed to convert their starts, and they are now staring at a big defeat, reduced to 268 for 7 in a tall chase of 511.
Mominul, when on 50 off 55, struck a sweep straight down deep-backward square-leg's throat minutes before the tea break. Shakib Al Hassan and Litton Das then fell for 36 and 38 respectively, and Shahadat Hossain walked back for 15.
"It was my fault to play that shot in the over before tea," Mominul said. "I shouldn't have got out like that. If we had lost two or four wickets all day, it would have been a different story. They [Sri Lanka] would have been under pressure. It would have left us to bat all day on the fifth day. The pitch is still good but we lost too many wickets today. Most of us got out after getting set. All of us, including myself, are to blame."
Sri Lanka head coach Chris Silverwood, however, praised Bangladesh's forthright approach on the fourth day.
"I think Bangladesh played well today," Silverwood said. "They put the pressure back on the bowlers. They made life difficult for us. I think we bowled well in patches. There were periods when we could have bowled better. I don't think we quite had the consistency in this innings as we showed in the first innings with the ball. Thankfully, our hard work has put us in a strong position going into tomorrow.
"In these sorts of wickets, you need to hold your line and length. Bangladesh didn't allow us to do that today. The run rate stayed around 3.9, which means they were pushing back. It is a good learning curve for us."
"We have seen some good skill levels from the boys. They have shown a lot of heart, determination and passion. I think they are learning how to bowl in different conditions"
Chris Silverwood on the Sri Lanka fast bowlers
Bangladesh's top seven in this series have the lowest collective batting average for the side in a series since the start of January 2021. Mominul said that the lack of red-ball cricket in the lead-up to the Test series could be a reason for the poor performance but did not want to use that as an excuse. Bangladesh played their last Test series before this one in December, and their two first-class competitions also ended in December.
"Our batting has totally collapsed in this series," Mominul said. "We can't give any excuses about it. If you compare it to how we batted in the first Test against New Zealand [in November last year], we couldn't click in this Test series. We couldn't play to our capabilities.
"You will think I am giving an excuse if I say that we are playing a Test after a considerable break. You might then ask me why I didn't have a problem [scoring runs when others couldn't]. I might have tackled it better but the rest of the team were mostly playing white-ball cricket [till recently]. This is the reality. It will sound negative, but this is the truth."
Bangladesh's batters have found the Sri Lankan fast bowlers especially tough to tackle. With a total of 31 wickets so far, the quicks have taken the most wickets by a Sri Lanka fast bowling attack ever in a two-match Test series. The previous occasions when they took 25-plus wickets were all in Australia, South Africa and England.
"I think they have been absolutely fantastic in this series. We have seen some good skill levels from the boys. They have shown a lot of heart, determination and passion. I think they are learning how to bowl in different conditions," Silverwood said. "We had a completely different style of pitch in the last Test. So we had to change the way we go about things. They adapted very well. They are growing. They have a lot left to learn. They are improving all the time."
Silverwood reserved special praise for Lahiru Kumara, who is making a comeback after a long injury layoff. Kumara has so far taken nine wickets in the series, often troubling the batters with sharp short-of-a-length deliveries.
"He [Kumara] has created an impact. He got wickets in important times. He bowled some fantastic deliveries," Silverwood said. "He has looked dangerous every time he has come into the attack. We want to continue to develop him. I think the more he plays, the better he is going to get."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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