POST TIME: 2 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Riyad runs out of partner to get a ton
He feels the heat of captaincy in int’l circuit
Syed Mohammed Pithu, Ctg

Riyad runs out of partner to get a ton

Bangladesh captain Mohammad Mahmudullah plays a shot during the second day of the first Test match against Sri Lanka at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong yesterday. AFP photo

On a day when he was classy with his willow, Mahmudullah Riyad felt the heat of captaincy in international match for the first time. But one thing he proved that the burden of responsibility brings out the best of him, a thing he repeatedly proved when he was leading the team in domestic circuit. He was stranded on 83, in what could have been his second century had he got the partner but the stubborn knock helped Bangladesh propel past 500, what was Bangladesh’s initial target. Sri Lanka made inroads with bowling at the outset of the day two, but Riyad was unscathed.

With his overnight partner Mominul Haque dismissed in the third over of the day, adding just one to his 175, onus was on Riyad to drive the innings to the safety. And he did it perfectly. Before the innings, only once in his 35-Test career, he got past 80 and he converted it to a century, which remains his only century in the career—a well composed 115 against New Zealand in Hamilton in 2010. In the last eight years, before the innings, he never crossed 80, even though he had 14 half-centuries under his belt. The 83 not out in this Test’s first innings was his 15th fifty. Alas! he couldn’t convert it to his second century, only for the lack of the partner. But more importantly, he looked untroubled and destined to a century. So it was painful.

When Sri Lanka came to batting, he got immediate success by bringing Mehidi Hasan Miraj in the third over as the off-spinner broke through with the wicket of Dimuth Karunaratne to leave Sri Lanka 0 for one. Bringing the third bowler in just third over looked innovative but when Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Mendis batted with assurance, Riyad sometimes looked dejected. Perhaps he understood the heat of the captaincy in international cricket. His nervousness evidenced in challenging umpire’s decision twice when both of the times, logically he shouldn’t take the reviews. In first case, the batsman de Silva advanced down the wicket by three meters and second case there was no sound when Kusal Mends edged one to wicket-keeper. In both cases, bowler Taijul Islam and wicket-keeper Liton Das were persistent and Riyad obliged. But he should judge those more logically since he wasn’t far from his bowler or wicket-keeper.

Left-arm spinners Taijul Islam and Sunzamul were bowling well towards the end but they were luckless. However Mehidi who got the only fallen wicket of Sri Lanka was under-bowled, bowling only eight overs in which he conceded 45 runs. When the cracks in the pitch started visible, Mehidi is believed to earn a wicket but Riyad didn’t try him.

Mominul Hauqe who came to the post-match however justified the decision of the captain saying, “Maybe the captain preferred left-arm spinners because there were two right-handers at the crease.”