Bangladesh’s rain-hit first Test against South Africa that ended in a tame draw is considered as the country’s giant stride towards a high point in the longer version cricket, a format in which they often found them in wanting.
The Chittagong Test was delicately poised before the rain washed out the last two days to bring a tame end of a highly entertaining Test. But Bangladesh found their groove in the Test by pushing the ranked one team in a commanding way what other big guns of the world hardly did in the last nine years at their own yard. South Africa’s record of not losing any overseas series since 2006 spoke about the fact.
There were ifs and buts. Question raised what happened if the weather permitted the play of the last two days, given the position of South Africa who were 61 for no loss, reducing the deficit to 17 but Bangladesh took the confidence of dominating the first innings. It’s a psychological boost which was much-needed, heading into the second Test but more importantly it had proved a point that Bangladesh are coming of age in the Test cricket as well like the limited overs game.
From somewhere they need to start to reach the zenith in the format. The amazing performance in this Test is seen as the ‘beginning’ of doing something extra ordinary in future.
“We’ve something to prove,” Bangladesh Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim said after the umpires announced the match ends in draw, pointing out the relentless question as to why Bangladesh couldn’t do well in Test despite doing so well in ODI cricket.
“I am not saying that we had already proved our worth in just one Test but we are on the right track. I think it’s a start towards the zenith. This Test will boost us psychologically and it’s possible to do well in the Test cricket as well if we continue this performance.”
The captain came up with explanations to why he saw the Test as an opportunity lost.
“They were trailing by 17 runs. They have to score runs at quick pace and in doing so, they would be in danger to loss some quick wickets. In that case, the match tilted towards us once again. Some rough patches appeared in the pitch and it could have come as goods for the spinners in the fourth and fifth day. We got four genuine spinners in our team. So we could have been in dominating position,” he said.
“Everyone is disappointed after the last two days were washed out. Everyone is hungry. They are eager to prove their worth.”
Bangladesh took a bold approach by trashing the strategy of playing eight batsmen in the Test which paid a rich dividend, believed the captain. This time they came up with seven batsmen and five specialist bowlers (including Shakib).Shakib’s presence indeed gave the side a flexibility of using a genuine batsman and bowler simultaneously.
“Condition-wise it’s our best combination. If you look at the other Test teams, they also try to play with five specialist bowlers. So we tried to do that. Our bowlers did well and batsmen also chipped in. But I think eight batsmen and three bowlers logic is not bad one if the conditions permits. It depends on the performance of the players.”
“Our bowlers are inexperienced and apart from Shakib no one played more than five Tests. It was tough to do well in the flat pitch. But they came up with more determination. The spell that Shahid did in the flat wicket, I have never seen. He was bit unlucky not to get wickets and sometimes we dropped the chances he created. “
While he revealed positive aspect of the game scoring 300 runs for the first time against South Africa and taking a big lead, the captain also found some negative points which he thought should be rectified.
“We couldn’t make breakthrough in the second innings. And couldn’t get wickets with the new ball. It’s an area which should be corrected. The batsmen though made contribution but we often couldn’t play long innings. This sort of mistakes you can’t do every time against a big team in the Test cricket.”
He however has seen his bad patch as temporary, saying that a long innings could back him in the groove.
Praising the new pace sensation Mustafizur Rahman he said, “He is the guy who always tries to learn. That’s his good thing. He had already known Test and ODI is not a same format and cutter doesn’t fetch him wicket always in the Test because here batsmen won’t attack him more often. He has been in form and we back him to keep it up. He is the guy who has the potentiality to be a big bowler.”