Mahmudullah stood in as captain for injured Shakib Al Hasan in the opening Test and said he hoped that their star all-rounder would be back for the final Test © Getty Images
Mahmudullah stood in as captain for injured Shakib Al Hasan in the opening Test and said he hoped that their star all-rounder would be back for the final Test © Getty Images

Bangladesh cricket captain Mahmudullah Riyad said self-belief helped the team hold on to a draw in the opening Test against Sri Lanka in Chittagong on Sunday. The hosts were 307 for five in their second innings, leading by 107 runs, when the islanders accepted the draw with an hour’s play left on the fifth and final day. Sri Lanka held the upper hand after getting a 200-run first innings lead following their declaration on 713-9 on day four. Bangladesh posted 513 after batting first.

“There was more chances of us losing the game because of how it was in the last evening. But it was important to have the belief. We have the skills, and we needed a big partnership,” Mahmudullah said.

“The team talk was to stay positive, not to be bogged down. The wicket was quite good today. Mominul (Haque) and Liton (Das) worked hard for a long time, because of which we got the result (draw). The credit goes to them,” he added.

The visitors fancied their chances after veteran spinner Rangana Herath picked up the crucial wicket of Mushfiqur Rahim off the last ball on Saturday to put Bangladesh in trouble at 81-3.

But Mominul, who top-scored with 105, and Liton Das shared a crucial 180-run stand for the fourth wicket to frustrate the Sri Lankan bowlers. Mominul, who made 176 in the first innings, became the first batsman from Bangladesh to score a century in both innings of a Test while Liton made 94 runs, a career best.

Mahmudullah, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Sunday, was at the crease on 28 alongside Mosaddek Hossain, on eight, when the stumps were drawn at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. Mahmudullah said that the team took a lot of positives from the draw moving into the second and final Test starting in Dhaka on February 8.

“It was a tough game for the spinners, even theirs too. Batsmen dominated from both sides. I think it was good that our batsmen did well today,” he said. Mahmudullah stood in as captain for injured Shakib Al Hasan in the opening Test and said he hoped that their star allrounder would be back for the final Test.

“I haven’t thought too deeply about my captaincy in this game. It was a matter of honour. I am hoping that Shakib comes back for the next game,” he said.