“Only in Bangladesh, I have seen that people compare me to Bradman when I score a century, but then when I don’t score runs, I feel like digging a hole for myself. I am one of the senior players, so we are not going to be around for long. But this is becoming a culture, so the younger players need the support. If I have to spend so much time tackling these things off the field, our on-field duties get affected.”

Mushfiqur Rahim made quite an emotional pitch in the press conference following the fourth day’s play, even if slightly hyperbolic. It came on a day when he registered his eighth Test century, and en route he became the first Bangladesh player to register 5000 Test runs.

On Wednesday, at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Mushfiqur reached his century with a faint tickle off Asitha Fernando down the leg side, and celebrated the mark with a fist pump after having some exchange of words and glares with the bowler. His celebration seemed like it was pointed towards the bowler. “I am sure I am allowed a bit of celebration after scoring a hundred, isn’t it?” said Mushfiqur at the end of the day’s play.

However, he remained critical of the critics who don’t support players through their low phase. “(What is being said) is not desirable for a player.”

He further added, “I think there’s no value for experience in Bangladesh. It is a huge deal to have played for 17 years. Allah has written what awaits me, and I want to perform that much well.”

Despite his frustration, it was a momentous day for the ‘keeper-batter. His efforts not only allowed Bangladesh to take a 68-run first innings lead over Sri Lanka but also helped him surpass Tamim Iqbal to the race to the 5000-run mark.

Mushfiqur, who resumed the day on 53 runs, was well aware that he needed 15 more runs to reach the historical landmark and took 48 deliveries to score those runs. He reached the mark with a push towards fine leg off Asitha to pick up a two.

“It is a great feeling to become the first Bangladeshi to reach 5,000 Test runs. But I am sure I am not the last one. There’ll be a lot of capable players among our seniors and juniors who can reach 8,000 or 10,000 runs,” he said.

In the process of reaching that landmark, he outpaced his teammate Tamim Iqbal, who had retired hurt after scoring a century on Day 3. The southpaw returned to bat on Wednesday but was dismissed without adding to his overnight score of 133.

Mushfiqur, who scored his slowest Test hundred, battled it out for seven hours and 48 minutes in the scorching heat.