It was another familiar defeat for the youngest test playing nation but it
wasn't quiet the same. In the end, the seven wicket defeat hides the fact that
at one stage, they looked comfortable enough to cause an upset. If it weren't
for debutante Pakistani batsmen Yasir Hameed, things could have been a little
more hairier towards the end.
Pakistan completed the victory by lunch on the fifth day. It was a huge relief
for captain Latif who admits that "it was a nightmare for me, fearing that
Bangladesh could upset us in the Test" (BBC Sports). He also went on to
say that night of the third day was probably the worst in his cricketing career.
However, back to back hundreds from Yasir Hameed, and solid second innings performance
by Mohammad Hafeez and Inzamam-ul-Huq insured a face saving win.
For their part, Bangladesh put out their best overall test performance in their
3 year old history. Apart from the familiar batting collapse and the momentary
lack of concentration, the batsmen were on top against the Pakistani attack
led by Shoaib Akhter. Several batsmen had their starts but the star of the team
was our very own "Mr. 50", Habibul Bashar Sumon. Sumon fulfilled his
promise and finally turned one of his many fifties into his second test hundred.
Sumon (71 & 108) was well supported by middle order Rajin Saleh and opener
Hannan Sarkar (41 & 30). Wicket-keeper and former captain, Khaled Mashud
Pilot (19 off 78 & 22 of 81) provided the support in the later stages. Rajin
impressed on his debut with his solid batting in the middle order. Rajin may
be the answer to our search for a solid middle order. His 26 (57 balls, 3x4)
in the first innings was paled by a much improved 60 (235 balls, 8x4) in the
second innings. However, once he departed, the team collapsed from 251 for 5
to 274 all-out within 6 overs.
Bowling was once again led by Mashrafee bin Murtaza (Masri) but as the pitch
started to dry out considerably, left-arm spinner Rafique (76/3 & 61/2)
took over the responsibility. With Tapash being the third specialized bowler,
the rest of the crew was unable to put any pressure on the Pakistani bats. We
sorely missed a fourth bowler. Captain Khaled Mahmud Shujon once again failed
miserably and showed that he does not belong in test cricket. Depending on the
pitch, Manju should be brought back into the attack to replace Shujon. However,
if Dav decides to give Shujon another chance, Ashraful may come in to replace
either Sanwar or Golla.
Another thing that did bother some of the Bangladesh fans was the level of
umpiring. Some believe that Umpires were a little harsh on the Bangladeshi batsmen
and bowlers when it came to LBW decisions. Seven Bangladeshi batsmen were given
out lbw compared to the one Pakistani batsman and several close lbw were turned
down. Now, the 7 to 1 ratio may not mean anything as mistakes do happen but
some of the Bangladeshi fans will keep a closer watch on the second test match.
If the trend continues and it is an issue, maybe the Bangladeshi officials will
take it up to ICC.
The second test starts on August 27 in Peshawar. The Pakistan team seems to
have found their rhythm back. The Bangladeshi players should have enough time
to iron out the little wrinkles and put on another fighting performance. Dav's
army is going the right direction and hopefully it will only get better from