Another spin-test awaits Mominul and co.

Shajedul Rahin | Thursday, 12 May 2022

Bangladesh are all set to take on Sri Lanka in the 2-match Test series starting on 15 March 2022. 

The matches will be played at ZACS, Chattogram and SBNCS, Dhaka, and as in the Test matches in Bangladesh in recent years, the pitches are likely to favour the spinners highly. 

Even though it is thought that such conditions would rather help Bangladesh, the recent statistics suggest that a rank turner can unsurprisingly turn out to be a curse for their batters. 

If we take a look at the 2-match Test series between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in 2021, the spin-dominance of the Sri Lankan bowling attack can be noticed. 

Out of the 20 wickets of Bangladesh picked up by the Lankan bowlers in the 2nd Test, 18 were picked up by the spinners. The debutant, Praveen Jayawickrama even picked up 11 wickets in both innings, the most by a left-arm spinner on Test debut. 

The overcommitted defending by the batters like Saif Hassan, Najmul Hossain Shanto and even Mominul Haque cost Bangladesh the match. 

Lasith Embuldenya, the man in form would love to have a go in the Bangladesh conditions as well. Jayawickrama loves to toss it up, change the lengths instantaneously, and extract the best output off the pitch, while Embuldenya adds more to it using his arm balls and varying his pace. 

Ramesh Mendis has also troubled our batters in the 2021 series. The off-spin bowling all-rounder has 26 wickets in just 4 Test matches. We might see the Jayawickrama-Embuldenya-Mendis trio in action if the conditions suggest going with them.

The most recent history of the Bangladeshi batters against spin bowling is not pleasant either. In Bangladesh's tour of South Africa, the Keshav Maharaj-Simon Harmer duo exposed the weaknesses of the batters against spin distinctly. Maharaj picked up 16 wickets (averaging 12.12) and Harmer took 13 (averaging 15.15). 

The solution? Overcommitting to the defence, going down too early with hard hands, and getting beaten by the flight and turn have been a reason behind the struggle against spin recently. 

The batters, especially Mominul Haque, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mahmudul Hassan Joy should be more focused on taking time to negotiate the flight and turn before deciding how to play it. If it is turning and a wicket falls with around 5-7 overs of play left in the day, a nightwatchman must be sent. 

As facing quality spin-bowling has been an issue for the batting line-up of Bangladesh in the recent past, the mission should be to avoid the mistakes done previously, and work on the weaknesses.

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