Mushfiqur Rahim didn't come into this match with a great deal of batting form. He had just one fifty-plus score in the last nine Test innings and didn't have a hundred for the last two years. Mushfiqur's last Test century against a higher-ranked side came way back in 2017 - against India in Hyderabad. Bangladesh batting coach Jamie Siddons, before the start of the match, said that a big knock from Mushfiqur was on the cards.
Siddons worked with Mushfiqur with his head position, guard and a few little things and the seasoned campaigner looked much calmer as a batter. Most importantly, he cut out some of his favourite shots - the reverse-sweep and sweep - and focused on occupying the crease.
Mushfiqur, who made his Test debut way back in 2005, became the first Bangladesh batter to score 5000 runs in the longest form of the game.
The hundred against Sri Lanka, so, was a welcome one but was it too slow and did it end up hurting Bangladesh's chances of probably winning the match?
Mushfiqur was defensive right from the get-go and rarely went for expansive shots on a pitch that was flat and hardly offered any help to the bowlers. He reached his fifty towards the end of day three off 125 balls, striking just two boundaries.
Bangladesh were 79 runs behind Sri Lanka at stumps on day three with seven wickets in hand and the pair of Mushfiqur and Litton Das was expected to score a little bit quicker on day four. But only 67 runs came in the first session with the help of just three boundaries.
When Litton and Tamim were dismissed immediately after lunch, Mushfiqur was joined by Nayeem Hasan whose batting record was not very encouraging. In such cases, the recognised batter tries to hide the tailender and score as many runs as possible. But Mushfiqur did the opposite. He went into a shell and continued to block most of the deliveries he faced. On top of that, he didn't seem to try to hide his partner and interestingly, Nayeem played more deliveries than Mushfiqur in the partnership.
Mushfiqur scored just 19 runs in the second session but reached his hundred before the Tea break. He clipped one down the leg-side and collected a boundary through fine-leg to reach his eighth Test century. It was one of only four boundaries that Mushfiqur hit in the innings.
Even after the milestone, he didn't try to accelerate and eventually got out right after tea while attempting a sweep. He consumed 282 balls for his 105.
Bangladesh faced 50.1 overs on day four while Mushfiqur was at one end and added just 121 runs at a run rate of 2.4 per over which was, by all means, below par on such a pitch which had shown no signs of significant deterioration. Now with Bangladesh leading by just 29 runs and only three sessions remaining, the likely result of the Test is a tame draw unless there is a sudden collapse. The way the pitch was behaving, Bangladesh, and Mushfiqur in particular, could have pressed the pedal a bit harder and tried for a win.
It was a magnificent effort in the unbearable Chattogram heat but there remains a question of how much the innings helped the team's cause.