Liton Das showed a glimpse of his talent when he hit his maiden Test fifty against South Africa on Thursday, helping Bangladesh to take a vital lead in the first innings.
Liton was under pressure to deliver making into the team as a specialist batsman cum wicket-keeper at a time when Bangladesh had to leave out a few other talented batsmen like Soumya Sarkar and Nasir Hossain.
With Mushfiqur Rahim in the team as skipper, there is little room for Bangladesh to play someone simply as wicket-keeper, which means anyone who was going to replace him behind the stumps had to score some runs.
Liton showed he has enough of it in his Test debut against India with a fluent knock of 44 runs but that hardly tested his character in a game mostly dominated by rain at Fatullah.
He had the stage set for him on Thursday as Bangladesh were desperately looking for someone to give Sakib al Hasan a good company and forge a partnership after they had lost skipper Mushfiq early.
Liton took his time and did not hit his first boundary until he faced 40th ball. The flick off Morne Morkel that raced past midwicket wicket boundary gave Liton such a confidence that he did not need to look back again.
A few overs later he smashed two back-to-back fours off off-spinner Simon Harmer before taking care of Dale Steyn, the most experienced among all South African bowlers.
A straight drive past boundary rope helped Bangladesh overtake South Africa’s first innings total giving them a psychological edge over the Proteas.
His next four off JP Duminy was less celebrated but it also brought Bangladesh a moment of joy as it took them past their highest score of 259 runs against South Africa.
‘We get a lot of loose balls in domestic cricket, but it is the opposite in international cricket,’ Liton said later in day, describing his experience against world’s one of the finest bowling line-ups.
‘The wicket was slow so it wasn’t also easy to play shots. I had to be careful. There is a different need every day so today the demand of the situation was for me to play this way.’
Liton did exactly what was asked to him by putting an 82-run stand with Sakib for the sixth wicket to frustrate South Africans. He batted with more conviction than his more illustrious partner Sakib and did not play a lose shot until got an inside edge off Harmer.
It took his South African counterpart Quinton de Kock to show a brilliant reflex to take the catch in front of off-stump to leave him content with just a fifty.
The right-hander, who earned his name scoring 1,064 runs in most recent first-class season, understandably was not satisfied with scoring just 50 when a bigger innings could have given the team a greater advantage.
‘I wanted to make a bigger score as I was the only regular batsman at the time, the rest were lower-order batsmen,’ he said. ‘I think I played quite well, as long as I batted. I wanted to play the maximum number of deliveries with the bowlers.’
-With New Age input