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A resolute performance against Pakistan brings Bangladesh into a new light

Bangladesh's draw against Pakistan signals a change in mentality within the team

SENIOR ANALYST
Feature 04 May 2015, 01:14 IST
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Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes punch gloves during their inspiring partnership against Pakistan

It was an unforgettable moment when the Bangladesh team was seen celebrating after whitewashing Pakistan in the limited-overs format. Yes, Bangladesh started the one-day and Twenty20 series as firm favorites, but defeating Pakistan in such a commanding manner was not expected at all. Throughout the series the Tigers played with a positive mindset. Their fearless brand of cricket charmed not only the local fans, but attracted the global audience as well.

Over the years, Bangladesh’s performance in the limited-over formats have been impressive, but in Test cricket, more often than not, they have been found wanting. Their overall record is dismal in Tests and for which their existence in the Test arena has always been questioned by the cricket pundits. To claim a place among the best teams of the world, a team must perform well in the longer format and despite playing it for more than fourteen years, Bangladesh have always struggled to come to terms with its intricacies.

After the adventure of limited-overs cricket, the Tigers’ next challenge was to prove a point in Test cricket and against a very competent Pakistan unit. On a flat deck, Bangladesh batted with extra caution on day 1, but on the second day, it seemed that the old disease of getting out erratically after building a good platform had returned among the Bangladeshi batsmen. In the blink of an eye, Bangladesh lost five wickets for 27 runs as the possibilities of posting a mammoth total in the first innings were dented.

Bangladesh loaded eight batsmen in the team and hence, lacked a front-line bowler. Such a ploy was taken advantage of by the Pakistani batsmen, who helped their team take a massive lead and left a daunting task for the Tigers. The way the Tigers threw away their wickets in the first innings, it was thought that, they might wilt by the burden of runs and thus, another dismal display in Test cricket was on the cards.

Tamim and Kayes took the game to the opposition

Bangladesh had to survive five sessions to save this match and a conservative approach was the need of the hour. But, Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes didn’t go into a shell. They played their natural game and slowly allayed the fears of an innings defeat or shoddy display.

Tamim and Kayes launched a sophisticated assault against the Pakistani attack. Both of them dished out some eye-catching strokes which enlightened a moribund day. They made the Pakistani attack look helpless and if there was any help available for the bowlers, that was buried deep by the authoritative stroke-play of the duo. Records kept on tumbling as they scripted an opening partnership of 312 and put Bangladesh in a commanding position. The rest of the batsmen didn’t let the hard work go in vain as Bangladesh were able to save the first Test match by securing a draw.

When did the world last witness such a brilliant performance by the Bangladeshi batsmen? Even on flat decks, they wilted under pressure. But this Bangladesh team is different. They have the knack to learn from their mistakes. This team might lose a match because of the lack of quality throughout the team, but there won’t be an instance when the cause of a defeat would be lack of character. This team denies to be baulked by the size of the task or the reputation of the opposition. This Bangladesh doesn’t lose it in the mind. They are fearless, they are positive.

The mentality of the Tigers is changing gradually – a change that is palpable, a difference that can be felt. Let this change persist and not vanish suddenly.

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