It was exactly four years ago that Kumar Sangakkara scored two centuries in a Test match at the same venue against us. Four years on, we have found a player that can do the same against them, in Mominul Haque.
But his brilliant batting simply papers over some cracks in the team that have appeared once again, against a Sri Lankan Test team that has done decently well in the last few years.
No apparent leader in the attack
Without Shakib in the bowling attack, the bowlers lacked direction and intent to make things happen, albeit on a placid surface that only started to turn from the third day, and that too, not viciously.
In the second session of the third day, there were around 10 overs of complete negative bowling from the three spinners -- Sunzamul, Taijul, and Miraz -- where they just pitched the ball outside leg stump coming around the wicket to the right-handed Sri Lankan batsmen with the intention of just hitting the batsmen’s pads.
There was no intention to take their wickets, but rather, the bowlers were waiting to frustrate the batsmen into playing false shots, an inexplicable move given the batting side were still 250+ runs behind.
The slips are slipping
We all remember the horror show the Bangladeshi slip fielders produced in New Zealand last year.
That showed no signs of stopping this Test either. Chances were hard to come by given our negative bowling, but that was made even worse with the chances and half chances the batsmen presented to the slips cordon, or even the wicket-keeper. Safe to say, we’d have booked Sri Lanka for fewer runs if we could have held onto our catches.
Without Shakib in the bowling attack, the bowlers lacked direction and intent to make things happen, albeit on a placid surface that only started to turn from the third day
Has Miraz stagnated?
Mehidy Hasan Miraz started off his Test career in blistering form against England in 2016, but a few years on from there, he seems to have become too predictable.
He was expected to improve his batting given his under-19 record, but apart from a solitary 50 in India against the home side, that has also not materialized. After a difficult South Africa tour, his form with the ball seems to have dipped with him lacking confidence, and he visibly struggled with his line and length even though he managed to trouble the Sri Lankan batsmen initially.
Why bring Razzaq into the team if you won’t play him?
Having recently taking 500 first-class wickets, there was plenty of furor about Abdur Razzaq getting recalled into the team, and lots of positive vibes about him getting selected in his mid-30s with Shakib Al Hasan out injured.
Given how Mominul performed, almost sending ex-coach Chandika Hathurusingha -- now Sri Lanka’s coach -- a message for not always backing him and even dropping him, Razzaq might have been equally motivated to prove a point, having not been part of the team during the Chandika years.
He might be the answer to the bowling leader Bangladesh needs, especially if Shakib isn’t deemed fit enough to bowl in the second Test.
Where is Mustafizur’s fast bowling partner?
Now, this is an area where Bangladesh really needs to think long and hard about. Who gets to be Mustafizur’s bowling partner?
With Rubel, Shafiul, and Taskin all having torrid times in South Africa, Kamrul Islam Rabbi might be the only option currently available.
It really is a sad state of affairs given how our fast bowlers seem keen on bowling in the limited over formats, but lose all their creativity and effort to bowl in the longer formats.
We saw Sri Lanka use two fast bowlers even though they too are a spin-based bowling attack, and a bit of variety did help them.
So if we are to do well in tests in the long term, we need to sort this out as soon as possible.
Shahnoor Rabbani is a radio show host, and cricket commentator at Radio Shadhin 92.4 FM.