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Old October 20, 2013, 03:39 AM
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The Daily Star Report

Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013

Will Mirpur be sporting?

Sports Reporter

It is all but confirmed that there will be no respite from the heat when the spirited Tigers lock horns with the Kiwis in the second and final Test, starting from tomorrow, at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. But the main interest leading up to the Mirpur Test has surrounded the nature of the wicket. Would it be the same placid surface of the drawn first Test in Chittagong?

Considering the visitors’ documented weakness against the slower bowlers in sub-continent conditions, the home team think-tank would love to see the spinners — their main weapons — get some advantage in order to tame the visitors in the hot and humid conditions. The nature of the wicket in Mirpur will probably not be the same as Chittagong but it was hard to guess whether the spinners will get that advantage, especially as there is always uncertainty over the nature of the black soil. Bangladesh, confident after an impressive show in the port city, expressed the desire for a ‘sporting wicket’ as they want a result from the Mirpur Test.

“We want a result and for that we hope that it will be a sporting wicket unlike the first Test where there was nothing for the bowlers. You know the pace bowlers have a good record in Mirpur and I believe this team is ready to face any challenge because they have got the start in the series. What I can say is the Mirpur pitch will offer some bounce,” said selector and former national skipper Habibul Bashar, who spoke with Sri Lankan curator Gamini Di Silva out in the middle during the Tigers’ practice session yesterday.

The players were not eager to think too much on the pitch and instead wanted to continue their good performance. First-match hero Shohag Gazi, who achieved a unique Test record by hitting a hundred and picking six wickets in an innings along with a hattrick, echoed the sentiment.

“Till now the coach or captain does not know much about the wicket. We haven’t done much work. But no matter what the wicket is, we need to play. Actually this is a new wicket, because there haven’t been any games played here for a long time. I don’t know what will happen,” said Gazi.

There have always been doubts over whether the Bangladesh team get the type of wickets they want at home, so the nature of the Mirpur pitch will remain a mystery until the end of the second Test. Winning a Test match however will depend on Mushfiqur Rahim’s men’s tenacity. Bangladesh have shown a great deal of maturity to draw the first match, regardless of how flat the wicket was till the last day, and they have to show a lot more if they want to win a Test against a top-ranked side.
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