Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Updated: Thursday, October 30, 2003
Mashrafee's Career Best Figures, But Top Batsman Fail Again

F Waliullah
In Day Two of the 2nd and final test match between Bangladesh and England, Mashrafee Bin Murtoza had taken his career best figures of four for sixty, but in the end the failure of the four specialist batsman again is a matter of concern.

Although the Bangladesh captain Khaled Mahmud took most of the blows by the local and foreign media for taking the decision to field first, but it may have been the coach Dave Whatmore who had insisted on fielding first.

But from the looks of things, fielding first or batting first may not seem to matter as four of the top five batsman have been going out consistently, in fact, third time in a row before the Bangladesh total even reaches one-hundred. If it were not for the 'good eyes' of Ashoka De Silva particularly on Habibul Bashar during Bangladesh's second innings in the first test match, then we could have seen such 'disaster' happening for sure.

On this second test match, the England team management have rightly selected three specialist fast bowlers in the side as we have seen the demise of batsman Javed Omar Belim, Habibul Bashar, Hannan Sarkar and Alok Kapali going out in quick succession.

Rajin Saleh and Mushfiqur Rahman has managed to stay unbeaten at the end, but not without facing some heavy blows of bouncers and short of length deliveries.

Earlier, it was for the tremendous effort of Mashrafee Bin Murtoza under the scorching heat and humidity with his pace and bounce that had massacard the England resistence.

Our eyes are used to watching our own batsman going out to caught behind off fast bowlers and our eyes are not yet used to watching our bowler taking wickets caught behind or in the way of slip catches. But this is what we exactly saw today as Mashrafee took the wicket of Nasser Hussain and Rikki Clarke.

What was the most surprising factor to see was that we had no idea before observing it that we have such a good slip fielder in our side in the disguise of Hannan Sarkar. It is amazing to watch how he took that catch. One wonders why he is not mostly positioned in the first slip instead of someone like Habibul Bashar who often misses a catch at the slip region or drops a catch when the attempt is made to take a catch.

If Mashrafee Bin Murtoza's wickets were an example of how good the wicket is for a genuinely good bowler, then Mushfiqur Rahman's wickets were an example of how a seamer can take quick wickets of tail-enders if he can bowl it straight. When Mohammad Rafique took his second wicket of Saggers, it seemed like a 'sympathetic cosolation prize' for a spinner while all the wickets were taken by a seamer at the other end.

It all sounds good for the future of Bangladesh cricket. It should encourage the groundsman and the future captains of Bangaladesh to instruct to produce good wickets, unlike we usually see in general low and turning Bangladesh pitches.

But the point is that our batsman are still not yet capable of handling quality pace bowling on those types of true sporting wickets. There are quite a few batsman who cannot handle the bouncers well enough. They are still suspect to swing bowling. There is no certainty as to how long this first innings will last on Day Three, but if we are to have some hope of winning soon, we should better get rid of these weaknesses fast.