Tigers tick all the right boxes | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 22, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:16 AM, April 22, 2021

Tigers tick all the right boxes

A healthy 302 for 2 on the scoreboard after the end of the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Stadium in Kandy yesterday reflected the Tigers' team management's positive intent.

That intent, first displayed by forming a balanced playing eleven that included three pacers and two spinners, was coupled with a proper cricketing approach from batsmen on a green top after Bangladesh had elected to bat. Even their execution when shifting gears according to the situation was evident.

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Mominul Haque and his troops were under immense pressure after their recent disappointments, especially in the Test format, and the first day of the first Test will definitely be a confidence booster for the Tigers moving forward.

By the end of the first day, Najmul Hossain Shanto had recorded a maiden Test hundred, with the left-hander unbeaten on 126. He will surely be looking to get even more runs alongside skipper Mominul Haque, who was unbeaten on 64 as the pair added an unbeaten 150 runs for the third wicket.

The foundation was lain right at the top after an early hiccup saw Bangladesh lose opener Saif Hasan for a duck in his third Test. However, the experienced Tamim Iqbal steadied things with Najmul again.

Tamim will likely be disappointed that his attempted false shot off Vishwa Fernando was caught at slips and cost his wicket just ten runs shy of a tenth hundred. But until his departure for 90 off 101 balls, which included 15 gorgeous boundaries, it was all class.

The green top encouraged the hosts to bank on three seamers in their line-up the Lankan bowlers' ploy of pitching the ball right up to the batsmen did not work as they would have hoped.

Both Najmul and Tamim were keen to come forward and meet the ball in front of their eyes, helping them negotiate the likes of Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kuara and Fernando. Tamim remained positive with his shot-making and played some delightful drives all across the ground.

Under pressure after failing in the two Tests against West Indies at home earlier this year, Najmul showed that with a hint of caution early on, especially after he was lucky to be dropped by keeper Niroshan Dickwella at the bowling of Dhananjay De Silva when he was on 28.

But Najmul regained confidence and eventually began to dominate the Lankan bowlers, adding 144 runs with Tamim Iqbal -- Bangladesh's first 100-run-plus stand for the second wicket since 2018.

Najmul, who began to open up and play his shots, also showed a lot of patience too when he was in his nineties, facing 38 balls to get the 10 runs needed to achieve the feat.

It was also a refreshing sight to see Bangladesh not lose a wicket in the third and final session with Najmul and Mominul, who is searching for a maiden away ton, adding 102 runs and ticking all the right boxes.

However, it will be important to see whether the visitors can utilise the start and post a big first-innings total to take control of the game.

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