According to Bangladesh’s batting coach Jon Lewis, opening himself up to play more on the leg side allowed Mohammad Mithun to play better as the batsman turned a corner with his sparkling 73* in the second ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch.
Forty of Mithun’s runs came from the on side, which Lewis explained was was a natural consequence of the kind of pitches available in New Zealand. “I think the big aspect of batting overseas for Bangladeshi batsmen is dealing with quality seam bowling with the new ball and a little bit more bounce,” he said. “Tamim [Iqbal] has more experience than most of the guys. He uses his role to create foundation for the second half of the innings.
“Mithun played an exceptional innings in Christchurch. He was trying to get himself closer to the line of the ball. He was trying not to look at the off side so much by keeping leg side as an option. You can do it where the ball bounces above the stumps a bit more than [in] Dhaka or Chattogram.”
Mithun’s attacking approach, where he batted at a strike rate of 128.07, changed the course of the Bangladesh innings and could also turn out to be a breakthrough knock in his international career. The visitors, however, lost the game by five wickets to concede the three-match ODI series but Mithun’s innings highlighted Bangladesh’s batting turnaround after a shocking performance in the first ODI in Dunedin.
Lewis, who joined the Bangladesh side earlier this year to work during the home series against West Indies and the New Zealand tour, said that the Bangladesh batsmen may have to bat at an even higher tempo if they are chasing a big total in the third ODI in Wellington on Saturday. But if they bat first, he would want them to continue with their plan in Christchurch, which was about conserving wickets at the start and going after the bowling in the back end of the innings.
“If we bat first, we have to be wary of what the new ball might do,” he said. “They have Trent Boult, and if [Tim] Southee comes into the side, they are quality performers. We have to ensure they don’t do us too much damage early on. If we are chasing a high score, we have to take advantage of the powerplay – take some risks, play some shots.”
But when it comes to batting first, Lewis believes Bangladesh can make up for a slow start.
“I think any run we don’t get in the first ten overs, we believe we can make it up in the latter period as long as our established batsmen are not trying to rebuild the innings too much,” he said. “If we are none or one down for 30-40 runs in the first ten overs, we feel it’s okay. In Dunedin, we were two or three down [early] which allowed New Zealand to control the innings. But when we had a partnership between Tamim and Soumya [Sarkar, in the second ODI], it allowed Mithun to kick on and get us to a decent score.”
Lewis mentioned that despite the 0-2 scoreline against Bangladesh, they took a “step in the right direction” in Christchurch, particularly with the way they batted coming from Dunedin.
“In Christchurch there was significant improvement in the batting effort,” he said. “It didn’t go well in Dunedin, where we lost the toss and it was a decent time to bowl early. The surface in Christchurch was for a much more even contest. The guys put into practice what they had been doing during the preparation period. It wasn’t good enough because we didn’t get the result we are after, but at least there was a step in the right direction.”
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
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