The element of surprise and the advantage of bowling out the opponent has to be done very quickly. Very quickly
Traditionally most captains would bat first and those who have stuck to this norm have won their tests. Cowdrey, Englands captain during the 70?s did the traditional thing and won 9 out 10 of his series.
What is perplexing is that the only rational motivation to bowl first i.e dampness under the surface would warrant a team to bowl first. This is a good move if you expect your bowlers to make good use of the conditions; or a protective stance by not exposing the batsmen to such a bowler-friendly situation. As such, I cannot fathom how Sujon came up with this decision. It is simply irrational for a team with little leeway.
Yes there is scope for the element of surprise but do we have batsmen or bowlers to negotiate the pitch in a way to our advantage?
At Old Trafford in 1997, Mark Taylor won the toss on a damp pitch and elected to bat. Why did he do it? Because he calculated that the batsmen would manage the early movement in the pitch, and the imprints left by the England bowlers on the surface created perfect rough areas around the right-handers? leg stump. And guess to whose advantage? Shane Warne!
Oh by the way wasn't it against Zimbabwe in 2000 that Hussain had a similar bolt of lightning. He wins the toss and follows his intuition and choses to bowl. It was a brilliant decision. After six overs Zimbabwe were 8-3 and soon after lunch were bundled out for 83. But that was England and Zimbabwe. Was Sujon trying to emulate this man?
?The history of Test cricket is littered with famous examples of captains who have won the toss, chosen to bowl ? and quickly been made to regret it. Mohammad Azharuddin at Lord's in 1990 (Gooch's match), and Nasser Hussain at Brisbane last year are just two of the most striking. If today's choice by Khaled Mahmud is not in the same league, it is for the simple reason that a 25th defeat in 26 matches could hardly be blamed on the toss. But it remains, nonetheless, a curious decision?..
A.Miller in Cricinfo.
I rest my case.