When Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes batted against India on Wednesday, there weren't many who could bat their eyelids at the sight of the class on display. The two Bangladesh openers showed aggression and the right attitude required to face tough opponents. That they failed to push the momentum is a different issue, but it gave glimpses of a Bangladesh team that is preparing to throw up more surprises.
The duo has, time and again, given Bangladesh the starts, but it has gone begging due to lack of support from the middle-order batsmen. Their skipper Shakib Al Hasan was spot on in his assessment on Wednesday when he said: “Our middle-order batsmen didn't play well. Though we lost, there are some positives we can take from this game especially the way the top order batsmen started off.”
Bangladesh have faltered repeatedly in the past six months not because they don't have the talent, but because they have always failed to fire collectively. Shakib was brutally honest when he said: “We played well as individuals but not as a team. That's an area we need to improve on a lot. We need to climb one step ahead and put team performances together.”
If any lesson is learnt, the Tigers will show more prudence and maturity when they take on Sri Lanka on Friday. The hosts have some handy spinners and it will be a stern test for Bangladesh batsmen. If Virender Sehwag’s mild turners could cause a landslide, facing Muttiah Muralitharan may pose a greater threat.
Sri Lanka will avoid any complacency, as a win against Bangladesh will keep them comfortably placed. Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are in good nick and Tillakaratne Dilshan will also eye a special knock.
It was Lasith Malinga’s maiden five-for in international cricket on Wednesday. With the kind of form he is in, another one doesn’t seem far away.