Bangladesh should learn from their mistakes
Pakistan’s tour to Bangladesh started with a defeat in the practice match against the Bangladesh A team in Fatullah, where they were blown away by a tornado named Shabbir Rahman. Shabbir’s swashbuckling knock dented Pakistan’s confidence and for a brief period, they were unable to recover from that blow. Pakistan were Banglawashed in the three-match one-day series and could not even manage to win the one-off Twenty20 International despite the inclusion of players like Shahid Afridi, Ahmed Shehzad and others.
Pakistan struck hard in the first Test in Khulna and it seemed that their first victory in this tour was a matter of time. Sadly, the Tigers changed their roar and they scripted one of the most memorable comebacks ever in the history of Test cricket. Bangladesh were able to escape a defeat and manage an honorable draw.
The things that went wrong for the hosts
Bangladesh were the favourites against Pakistan before the start of the second Test in Mirpur. The gladiatorial effort at Khulna lifted the confidence of the Tigers immensely and it seemed that a glorious Test series win was around the corner. But since Mushfiqur Rahim was seduced by the dense covering of grass on the Mirpur track, forgot W.G. Grace’s famous quote and decided to bat first, till the end of the Test match, nothing went right for Bangladesh.
Firstly, after losing Jubair Hossain due to an injury on the morning of first day, Bangladesh digested another blow as on the in the second ball of the day, pace-bowler Shahadat Hossain, who was recalled in the side as the replacement of injured Rubel Hossain, hobbled off the field after taking a tumble in his delivery stride. Bangladesh were a bowler down and the idea of playing only three frontline bowlers backfired. Still, such an idea would have been fruitful if Bangladesh’s strike bowlers didn’t struggle big time.
Shakib Al Hasan and Taijul Islam were found wanting against an invigorated and determined Pakistani batting line-up. Pace-bowler Mohammad Shahid bowled well, but he lacked support. Young Soumya Sarkar was used as Shahadat’s replacement, but his gentle medium-pace didn’t bother the Pakistani batsmen at all.
Secondly, the Bangladeshi bowlers lacked discipline while bowling and didn’t receive enough support from the fielders as well. Azhar Ali, batting on 18, edged Mohammad Shahid to third slip and was walking back to the pavilion. But, replays showed that Shahid didn’t land his heel behind the popping crease and was called back. He gave further chances off spin at 34 and 35 to Mominul Haque at silly point and short leg. However, on both the occasions, the ball got past quickly between the fielder's legs before he could get low enough. Azhar Ali went on to score a double hundred.
Lastly, instead of being calm and composed, Bangladesh blew hot and cold while batting. Their positive attitude at Khulna installed belief among critics that they won’t bog down without a fight. But sadly, the Tigers surrendered meekly on a track which had no demons underneath. The Pakistani bowlers were thoughtful and hostile.
It was a shoddy display of Test batting by the Bangladeshi batters. The theory of stuffing the team with eight batsmen didn’t pay rich dividends. Bangladesh nosedived to a 328-run defeat as Pakistan managed a face-saving win.
Despite the defeat, Bangladesh dominated the series
The defeat in the second Test has exposed the chinks in Bangladesh’s armory and also, it has debunked the theory of playing eight batsmen and three bowlers in a Test match. For teams like Bangladesh, who are not at home in playing Test cricket, the idea of drawing a Test match rather than losing is applied to preserve the confidence and self-belief of the team. But in the long term such ploys don’t reap a rich harvest.
Their crushing defeat has been criticized, but just one bad match should not make everyone forget about their dominance throughout the tour. Bangladesh have been brilliant against Pakistan and their style of play has endeared to many and has been refreshing to watch. One must bear in mind that, mistakes are always the best teachers and a better student always learn from his mistakes.
Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusigha is a very intelligent person and it is expected that he will modify his strategies in the future. Under his guidance, the Tigers have developed this habit of learning from their mistakes. It is expected that, the boys will learn from their mistakes and work hard to improve themselves for the upcoming tougher assignments against India, Australia and South Africa.