For a change, Bangladesh didn't lose too many wickets upfront and it was a rare occasion when lower-order batters contributed valuable runs in the first innings of the second Test in Gros Islet. Despite all that, Bangladesh couldn't post more than 234 and the prime reason behind this was the inability of the batters to convert the starts into big ones.
If Mahmudul Hasan Joy's 31-ball-10 is excluded, four out of the top five batters got great starts to their innings but none of them, barring Litton Das, registered a fifty-plus score. Litton, though, couldn't carry on long after getting to his fifty. Each of the top five batters played more than 30 balls and in this form of cricket, it's a crime to throw away wickets after getting set.
This has now become a chronic batting problem for Bangladesh. The conversion rate of the batters has improved over the years but the numbers are still worrisome.
Let's start with Tamim Iqbal, the most prolific batter in the XI currently. The southpaw got starts in all three innings he played in the ongoing Caribbean tour but failed to get even a single half-century. He struck some glorious boundaries en route to his 46 but played a rash shot which led to his dismissal in the first innings of the second Test.
It was the 28th time Tamim got out between scores of 25 and 49 and his conversion rate from 25 to fifty-plus scores is 60%. Tamim's conversion rate from the fifties to the hundreds is even worse (24.4%). It is lower than any other opener having at least 5000 runs in Tests.
In the last five years, the conversion rate of the top seven Bangladesh batters from 25 to fifty-plus scores is just 47% which is definitely a worrying sign.
Najmul Hossain Shanto is the batter who is suffering a lot from this problem. In his short career of 35 innings, he has got out between scores of 25 and 49 ten times. He got yet another start in the first innings of the second Test but couldn't score more than 26.
Litton Das looked in control but fell right after his fifty. In the previous Test, Shakib Al Hasan got two fifties but couldn't carry on longer especially in the second innings (63). Nurul Hasan too fell in the 60s. That's another area Bangladesh batters need to improve. They are getting dismissed too frequently after getting fifties.
38% of the fifty-plus scores of the top seven Bangladesh batters in the last five years ended in between 50 and 70. Now that's a massive percentage and that's something that is preventing them from registering big team totals.
Tamim, at the end of the day's play, admitted that he should've stayed longer in the middle and played a bigger innings. Batting coach Jamie Siddons also pointed out that the 40s and 50s are not going to be enough.
"We have to bat longer. Batting long is the key in Test cricket. We had to stay unbeaten at the end of the day's play. But we are not being able to do so. Tamim and Litton were batting well. But those 40s and 50s won't be enough. Those who are getting starts need to convert them," said Siddons.
Tamim was disappointed not to make the start count. "Usually I play long innings when I get such good starts. It's disappointing that I couldn't do so this time. I could've left the ball. It didn't bounce as much as I expected and that's why it hit the sticker of my bat. But I am not someone who likes to give excuses. As an experienced member of the side, I should've played a long innings," Tamim stated.