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The unique partnership between Mushfiqur Rahim and Litton Das 

Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim walk back after an undefeated partnership on Day 1 of the first Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at Mirpur, 2022. Image Courtesy: Getty Images/AFP
Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim walk back after an undefeated partnership on Day 1 of the first Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at Mirpur, 2022. Image Courtesy: Getty Images/AFP

When Mushfiqur Rahim and Litton Das met together at the batting crease, on Day 1 of the 2nd Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the house was on fire and both of them were standing on the ashes.

A rebuilding, like the one engineered by Wallis Mathias and Shujauddin, who added 86 runs after Pakistan were reduced to 22/5 by West Indies on Day 1 of the 1959 Dhaka Test, was needed. Once again, Dhaka witnessed one of the finest comebacks in the history of Test cricket.

5, 48, 12, 5, 7, 0, 51, and 1 - these had been the scores for Mushfiqur Rahim before this series. His batting form, execution of adventurous strokes during crunch moments, statements during the pressers, and emotional exhibitions, made his lean path critical.

Bangladesh's best batter was under pressure. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Little Mushfiq decided to fight back. In this series, pressure is bringing the best out of him.

On the other hand, Litton Das was simply peppered with harsh treatment by the fans and critics. Even some of the corporate companies in Bangladesh started to make fun of him.

He decided to give each and every critic a fitting reply and guess what - in the last 12 months or so, Litton Das is the most improved batter for Bangladesh. No matter what life throws at him, he is ready to face the challenge and emerge stronger.

Sri Lankan pacers give jitters to Bangladesh in the morning

Day 1 of the second Test was sun-kissed. The weather was sultry. The pitch seemed like helpful for the seamers in the first 10 overs but after that, set to become a batting-friendly surface.

Within seven overs, Kasun Rajitha and Asitha Fernando had Bangaldesh reeling. Bowling from wide off the crease, Rajitha got one to straighten up and hit the timber of Mahmudul Hasan Joy.

He also took down the offstump of Nazmul Hasan Shanto and trapped Shakib Al Hasan lbw. Meanwhile, Fernando kissed the edges of Tamim Iqbal and Mominul Haque's bat, giving easy catches behind the wicket. Bangladesh were in deep trouble at 24/5!

Bangaldesh fans are familiar with humiliations and at Mirpur, yet another one was on the cards.

Epic turnaround - Mushfiqur Rahim and Litton Das create history

It was very important to see-off the new ball and dig deep to build a productive partnership. One batter had to play the role of a sheet-anchor.

Mushfiqur Rahim decided to hold one end. Litton invested in the intent to execute shots so that Dimuth Karunratne, the Sri Lankan skipper, could be forced to switch to a more defensive field set.

For most of the first day, Litton Das flexed his muscles and his initial trigger movement on the back foot helped him tackle short-pitch deliveries from the Lankan pacers.

After lunch, Fernando pitched short and targeted the body. But Litton Das was quick to pivot on to the back foot and get on top of the bounce - Fernando could only watch the ball run towards the boundary.

Karunaratne brought on the spinners but they were medicore and gave away too many loose deliveries. Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim cashed in and also settled down at the wicket as the day progressed.

Congratulations to Litton Das for a hard earned century against Sri Lanka in the 1st innings of the 2nd Test! #BCB #Cricket #BANvSL https://t.co/HeBi7suYsx

Litton Das established his authority on the legside as soon as he fetched two boundaries off Ramesh Mendis. Praveen Jayawickrama was dealt with easily and runs came thick and fast. 13 off his boundaries came in the arc between fine leg and long on.

Unbelievable Comebacks 😮From 24/5 ➡️ 296/6, 🇧🇩 pair of Mushfiqur Rahim and Litton Das spoiled the party for 🇱🇰 as they put on a mammoth partnership of 2️⃣7️⃣2️⃣ runs after a shocking start to their 1st innings.#CricketTwitter #BANvSL #MushfiqurRahim #littondas #Partnership https://t.co/RnuKLWKfa8

Sri Lanka started to melt under the heat of Dhaka and courtesy of their indiscretions, Litton raced through the 80s and 90s to his second Test hundred. He collected three boundaries and five overthrows from 79 to 101 in the space of 13 balls.

But he was not done yet, as the right-hander continued to send the ball to the boundaries only to pile more agony on the Lankan fielders and bowlers. Mushfiqur Rahim, on the other hand, was steadier, resolved, and focused!

His intention was to occupy the crease and when he settled down, he picked up the rhythm and was all set to gift Bangladesh something big.

One of the highlights of Mushfiqur Rahim's epic knock was curbing the intent to execute the reverse sweep, which has scripted his downfall many times. On Day 1, he hardly walked that path and his innings kept getting better.

The Lankan spinners bowled too full against Mushfiqur Rahim and he stepped out to hit them through the offside. The Lankan pacers tested him with short-pitch deliveries but he was sensible enough to duck or weave.

Mushfiqur Rahim now features in four of the five highest partnerships for Bangladesh in Tests 👏More 👉 bit.ly/3wIgvHt#BANvSL | #WTC23 https://t.co/CKhATsV9SU

On Day 2, Mushfiqur Rahim lost Litton, but before that, their 272-run stand for the sixth wicket became part of Bangladesh cricket's folklore. No pair has added 200-plus runs after losing five wickets for 25 runs or less.

The previous highest was a hundred-run stand between Nkrumah Bonner and Joshua Da Silva against Sri Lanka at Galle when West Indies were reduced to 18/6.

One of the great knock by a Bangladesh batsman in Tests, team was 24 for 5 then Mushfiqur Rahim scored unbeaten 175 runs from 355 balls including 21 fours - 8 Bangladesh batsman got out for single digit. What a knock, Rahim. https://t.co/FLSNwpp46o

Again, Litton Das' 141 was the highest score by a number 7 batter after coming to bat with a score of 25 or less. The previous best was Moin Khan's 117 against Sri Lanka in 1995 when Pakistan were reeling at 15/5!

Mushfiq doggedly pressed the team's total in the company of the tail-enders and his 49-run partnership with Taijul Islam frustrated Sri Lanka even more in the morning session. He crossed the 150-mark in that process - the fifth time he did this in his illustrious Test career.

The former Bangladesh captain was not out on 175 as Bangladesh ended their innings at 365. They became the only team in Test history to post 300 or more runs after losing five wickets for 35 runs or less. The previous best was India's 266 against New Zealand at Ahmedabad in 2010.

The score of 365 is also the highest by any team in first-class cricket, where six or more batters were dismissed for a duck. The previous highest was 300, posted by Derbyshire in 2021.

The partnership between Mushfiqur Rahim and Litton Das was indeed unique!

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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