Technical deficiencies floor Bangladesh once again

Shadman Islam is bowled BCCI

Big gaps between bat and pad, bats coming down at odd angles against seaming deliveries, indecision outside the off stump, and the general lack of long-format temperament. Saturday was the same old story for the Bangladesh batting line-up in an overseas Test match, and the flaws were further exposed by arguably the best bowling attack in the world.

It was only thanks to Mushfiqur Rahim, who faced one-third of all the balls faced by Bangladesh's batsmen in the entire Test, that the game went on until 3.30pm on the third day. He hadn't done anything out of the ordinary, but among a group of batsmen who hardly showed any patience, his 43 and 64 stood out like a beacon.

Openers Shadman Islam and Imrul Kayes looked susceptible against both the incoming and outgoing deliveries. Both got out to balls leaving them on the first day, and on the third day both were bowled by balls that came back in, and not terribly sharply. They were undone by subtle movement.

Mahmudullah was undone by his lack of patience in both innings, exposing all three stumps and missing a sweep in the first and poking at numerous deliveries from the quicks in the second. Mohammad Mithun survived 36 and 26 balls, and could be considered unlucky to get out to a brilliant delivery in the first innings, but in the second dig, his bat coming down at an angle got him into trouble against a Mohammed Shami bouncer.

Liton Das may have fewer technical issues to sort out, but his impatience is eating into his international career. In the second innings, he put on 63 with Mushfiqur before giving it away by playing one shot too many.

Through this Test match, Bangladesh's batsmen were not in control of 20% of the balls they faced, as against India's 5%. While this was reflective of the disparity in quality between the two attacks the respective teams faced, it was also indicative of the issues of technique and shot selection that continue to bog down Bangladesh in Test cricket.

Even Mushfiqur isn't without flaws. Teams have been trying to target him with the big inswinger homing in on his off and middle stumps, in the hope that he'll leave a gap between bat and pad. West Indies have tasted notable success with this tactic recently, and Shami did so too in the first innings, finding the gap between bat and pad. There were a couple of close calls of this nature on day three too.

Mushfiqur will no doubt busy himself practising against the incoming ball over the next five days, trying his best to iron out his weakness. At least he knows exactly what his issue is. And at least it's just one issue. The problems are a lot more complicated when it comes to his colleagues. In overseas conditions in the last two years, they have been exposed in multiple ways, technically and mentally.

It calls into question Bangladesh's preparation for these challenges.

Apart from the lead-up to the 2015 World Cup - when their then coach Chandika Hathurusingha installed a granite slab at the Shere Bangla National Stadium to simulate the bounce of Australian pitches - there haven't been too many recent instances of Bangladesh coming up with specific training methods to combat specific challenges. That kind of preparation is essential for batsmen to develop the habits that will serve them well when their techniques are examined relentlessly for long periods.

Bangladesh's recent struggles against New Zealand, West Indies and India have suggested that this isn't happening.

It isn't that Bangladesh's batsmen lack the pedigree to play at the top level. The current lot is much better against pace and bounce, for instance, than previous generations were. But when it comes to dealing with a full arsenal of bowlers asking them questions ball after ball, they are still quite some way behind most batting line-ups.