Mahmudullah (AFP Photo)

A slew of poor batting performances mean that Bangladesh take field against Zimbabwe on Sunday in a battle to save a potential Test series defeat. Zimbabwe crushed them in the first Test of the two-match series in Sylhet to take a 1-0 lead.

Captain Mahmudullah said Bangladesh have not other option than to put up a strong performance in the second Test in Dhaka to prevent the visitors from claiming their first Test series win in 17 years.

“We have our backs against the wall. We have to come back strongly. There is no other option,” Mahmudullah said on Saturday. “After the Sylhet match, we all sat together and discussed the positives in that match and the mistakes that cannot be repeated in the next match. These things have been pointed out. If we stay strong in some areas then we can perform well.”

He continued, “Batting is our real concern. In this area, we are not doing well in Tests as we do in other formats. But if we think too much then the pressure will be on us. We will try to play our natural game. We will have a good chance if we can do that.”

Mahmudullah’s form has been also a major concern for the hosts. In his past eight innings, he has recorded three ducks and managed 58 runs in total. “I believe in leading from the front. I have to think as a batsman first. I haven’t been scoring in the last three or four Tests so I will try to give my best,” the 32-year-old said.

With the top-order failing in both the innings in the first Test, there are talks of senior-pro Mushfiqur Rahim being promoted up the order. However, Hamudullah has quashed any such suggestion and is against overburdening the wicketkeeper-batsman.

“We will have a few changes. But there is hardly any possibility of Mushfiqur going up in the order. He is expected to keep wickets so he needs some rest and number five or six will be the best place for him to bat,” he said.

Talking about the Mirpur track, Mahmudullah said, “Mirpur’s wicket is always a little unpredictable. If you do not get what you expect, you will have to adapt to it. We will try to play according to the pitch conditions. We have already decided some don’ts. At the same time, if each player sensibly plays his strong zone shots, we can perform. We have these things on the back of our minds.”