Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque has pointed out the ‘mentality of the players’ made all the difference in the second Test against Sri Lanka which they lost by 10 wickets on Friday. Sri Lanka also won the two-match series 1-0 after the first Test in Chattogram ended in a draw.
Resuming Day 5 at 34/4, Bangladesh steadied the ship with a 100-plus sixth-wicket stand between Shakib Al Hasan and Litton Das with both scoring fifties. But once the partnership was broken post-lunch, wickets fell like a heap of cards.
Bangladesh collapsed from 156-5 to 169 all out in their second innings giving the visitors a mere 29 runs to win the game. Sri Lanka easily reached the target in three overs with Oshada Fernando hitting 21 off only nine balls. Captain Dimuth Karunaratne was at seven not out.
“A disappointing performance, have to work hard. But there were some positives, Rahim and Litton batted really well,” said Mominul after the game. “They put us under pressure with the new-ball, we'll have to handle it better next time.
“It's all about the mental thing, need to be mentally strong if we're to come back in the next series. We have to look after our bowlers, especially the pacers,” added the southpaw. Mominul isn’t the first one to speak about the mentality of the players in this match.
After the fourth day’s play on Thursday, premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan also spoke the same thing after they were reduced to 24/4 in the second innings. Shakib, who took a fifer in this match, claimed that it is their mentality and not physical fitness that pulled them down.
“I think we are one of the fittest teams in the world,” Shakib had said on Thursday. “I think we fielded around 400 overs (408) in this series. We are definitely fit, look at Litton who kept for 400 overs but came out and scored 141.
“Mushfiq bhai made 175 (in the first innings). I think we are physically fit, but we are behind mentally. We have to work on our mentality. I think there’s (a) fear of failure among us. If we think otherwise, we might get better results.”
Bangladesh were in a similar situation in the first innings as well when they were 24/5 before spectacular tons from Litton and Mushfiqur Rahim uplifted the hosts to post 365. “We weren’t able to handle the pressure, and it has been happening like this recently,” said Shakib.
“It happened when I was not in the team, and now it's happening when I am in the team. We are failing in the second innings in the recent past. We had a chance to improve upon it, but we failed today as well. But we shouldn't call it 'the end' before it ends.”
Statistically, this is also the first time Bangladesh have recorded 10 ducks in a Test match in their history. While six ducks came in the first innings, the rest came in the second. It also included Tamim Iqbal’s first Test pair in his career.
Fast bowler Asitha Fernando did most of the damage for Sri Lanka registering his first 10-wicket haul in a match with 4-93 in the first innings, followed by 6-51. The win also helped Sri Lanka grab 12 vital World Test Championship points and also go above Pakistan in the 2023 WTC table.