Rain interrupted days are always tougher for batsmen trying to settle in. Conditions change and their flow gets interrupted. Although we're talking about just a handful of those overs, not losing a wicket is encouraging.
I must say Imrul looked good. Sighted the balls well, good leaves, good footwork, solid and compact defense, and unlike some of our "compact" batsmen from the relatively recent past, he can put the bad ones away safely. Good, straight-batted and orthodox strokes through both sides of the park. Unlike them, he doesn't get bogged down because of limited ability, puts pressure on himself as a consequence, and inevitably throws his wicket away. He HAS ability. At least that's what we've seen him do in domestic cricket for a while now.
Initially he was not able to carry that form over from the NCL to the highest level for reasons we know too well, but using the few chances he got, he made adjustments and that effort is finally beginning to bear fruit, or so we hope, 3rd string attack or not. Best and Roach are no pushovers and Sammy can always surprise you with an effective spell or two. Austin is also capable of lulling us into unforced errors over longish spells where our focus will be tested.
Having said all that, it is still way too early to get overly optimistic. The early signs however, are better than the downward spiral we've been witnessing for far too long.
To a related discussion. I posted this team on Asaad's thread
on June 25, 2009, before practices matches.
Originally Posted by Sohel NR
Batting order for the first test:
1. Tamim Iqbal
2. Zunaed Siddiqui
3. Imrul Kayes/Mehrab Hossain ... whoever does the best in practice matches THERE. Minor plus if Mehrab: bowling. Major plus if Imrul: batting.
4. Rokibul Hassan
5. Shakib Al Hassan
6. Mohammad Mahmudullah/Mushfiqur Rahim ... whoever does the best in practice matches THERE. Minor plus if Riyad: bowling. Major plus if GoBoy: batting.
7. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (C)
8.Saghir Hossain (WK)
9. Shahadat Hossain
10. Enamul Haque
11. Rubel Hossain
H2O Man- Mohammad Ashraful
I always had the idea that someone like Imrul could come in at number 3, if that helped him sight the ball better provided the openers did their jobs as a unit stuck around a bit. Now it seems Z will come in at 3 to prevent further "Rokonification" of his game. Hopefully this new position will give him the opportunity to correct the issues he has with his bottom hand, skidding deliveries, and pacy outcutters and outswingers along the corridor of uncertainty. Once he does that, he can become the player he can be at this level and eliminate the niggling and then full blown disappointment we've had in the past with Opi and to a lesser extent, Rokon.
Once Nafis Iqbal returns to the squad and performs as well as some of us expect him to, we'll have a solid top order with all 4 batsmen capable of opening.
That will provide better opportunities for our middle order to succeed better as a cohesive unit. Imagine a middle order with Ash, Abir, Alok, Shakib, Aftab and Mushy all in form, older and more mature, and Riyad, Naeem and Mehrab continuing to get better and knocking on the door. Imagine solid keeping from Shahin Hossain for the longer version and Dhiman for the shorter ones. Imagine a pace attack that also features the likes of Shubhashish, Shumon and a resurgent Talha with Farhad, Zia, Milon and perhaps even Tapash for the shorter versions, T20Is in particular with their hitting abilities. Imagine genuinely talented slow bowlers like Shaju and Marshall turning it up a notch to make a name for themselves alongside Enam. Fabulicious times ahead after some serious stagnation and heartbreak?
We shall see. This test match in the islands is winnable and let's do that first ...