Zim vs Ban one-off Test

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Liton had spoken to Bangladesh’s new batting coach about wanting to curb his tendency to throw away his wicket when set

Liton Das may have ended up five runs short of a maiden Test century, but he overcame one mental barrier during his day-one innings in the one-off Test against Zimbabwe, according to Bangladesh’s new batting coach Ashwell Prince. Das was among three batters to cross fifty and help Bangladesh recover twice, after they had slipped to 8 for 2 and then 132 for 6.
Das added 138 for the seventh wicket with Mahmudullah to move Bangladesh towards a position of respectability, but he missed out on a personal milestone when he holed out to fine leg off Donald Tiripano shortly before the second new ball was due.

Prince, who is with the Bangladesh set-up only for this Zimbabwe tour, said Das had taken a step towards fixing an issue that’s dogged him through his career so far – of suffering breaks in concentration when set at the crease.

“During some of our conversations during the week, he shared that sometimes he gives his wicket away in the thirties or forties, due to lack of concentration,” Prince said. “I told him, if he can bat for more than three hours, forgetting about the score which is on 30 or 40, he’d be close to a hundred. I would like to see how many hours he batted today. We were all quite disappointed for him that he didn’t get the hundred. I think this is a good learning for him.”

Prince said Mahmudullah played a crucial role during the partnership, since Bangladesh needed a calm head with the experience of facing such situations in the past. Mahmudullah and Das came close to surpassing the highest-ever seventh-wicket stand against Zimbabwe, but fell four runs short of the mark achieved by Nicky Boje and Prince himself, back in 2005 at Centurion.

“Mahmudullah played a really crucial innings for the team,” Prince said. “He was the perfect person for that job at the time. He and Liton Das really complemented one another really nicely. He was watchful, and Liton maneuvered the ball around. At 132 for 6, it was a big partnership for the team.”

Prince also praised captain Mominul Haque for his composure, both mentally and technically as a batter. Mominul made 70 to steady Bangladesh after Blessing Muzarabani had rocked them with two early strikes. “The team had lost some early wickets,” Prince said. “It was a crucial period for us. Mominul’s calmness gives a lot of confidence to the dressing room.

“His positions were very strong on the crease. He was comfortable at the crease. He is an experienced player, a very good Test player.”

Bangladesh, Prince felt, weren’t out of the woods yet, but hoped the lower order could rally around the still unbeaten Mahmudullah.

“Ideal scenario for Bangladesh would be for the No 10 and 11 to provide support to the one out-and-out batsman at the crease, Mahmudullah,” Prince said. “Nobody knows how good a score is, until both teams have batted on the pitch. So we can’t take for granted that anything between 290-320 is a good score. The best situation for Bangladesh would be to get as many runs we can get.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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