After drawing the rain affected first Test in Chittagong with some creditable performances, Bangladesh is heading towards the series deciding final Test at Dhaka with the desire to record their first Test victory against a quality opposition. To achieve this goal, Bangladesh must find a way to get to the bottom of their batting problems, which they have been facing since their inception as a Test team. The match will start at 9:30 AM local time at the Mirpur Shere Bangla Stadium on Friday.
This will be Dav Whatmore's last Test in charge, and Bangladesh will be keen to offer him a farewell gift with a credible performance on the field. Nothing would be more befitting than a Test win for Whatmore, who worked for four long years to make Bangladesh a competitive side.
Bangladesh can take some positives from the Chittagong Test, but to be truthful, the weakness of Bangladesh as a Test team was badly exposed within the time rain allowed play. Some extra-ordinary performances from the pace duo, Mashrafe Mortaza and Shahadat Hossain saved the blushes and prevented humiliation. But, the batting woes that are hunting Bangladesh in Tests are still far from being over.
The generous Bangladeshi batsmen did no harm to their reputation by gifting away wickets against a rather mediocre and inexperienced Indian bowling attack. After rallying parade to the pavilion with some clueless shots, they waited for some miracle to happen. Two fast bowlers, who did their premium duty responsibly, came forward as the savoir of the team. They believed in themselves, effectively mixed aggression with caution and rescued Bangladesh. They showed way to the batsmen, but unfortunately our batsmen are not willing to learn from their mistakes.
However, this is not the end of the story, when opportunity was there to go for a win; batsmen again failed to take up the challenge and decided to shut the shop, even before attempting to win. Obviously, bowlers who batted and bowled with lot of hearts, were not in the scene to lead the chase, and they witnessed how their fellow Tigers settled for a tame draw.
A draw on return to the Test cricket after a break of 13 months is definitely praiseworthy, and Bangladesh deserves some pat in the back for their efforts. However, the way of achieving the draw does not indicate the progress which we were eagerly waiting to see.
Now, Bangladesh must solve their batting mystery to do well in the second Test, which is expected to run for 5 days without much interruption from nature. Batsmen have to take the responsibility for their action; they have to put value to their wickets. They must understand that Test cricket is not a charity show, and presenting wickets to the oppositions is not considered as a noble piece of work.
On paper, India is definite favourite to win the Test and they will come hard all guns blazing to secure the series. But favourites not necessarily win matches, first Test in Chittagong have revealed several weaknesses of current Indian outfit, and Bangladesh must capitalize on that. At the same time, we must change our approach towards the game. Playing for a draw will never evade defeat in Test cricket, playing for a win can only ensure a positive result, whether it?s win or a fighting draw.
Chittagong Test has made it clear that Team India is largely dependent on their experienced pros. They are carrying all the burdens of expectations and are the key performers by miles, which further reveal the mediocrity of the younger generations of Team India. In batting, Dravid, Sachin and Sourav are big names and India?s success will be completely dependent on their success. If Bangladesh can restrict their domination on the middle, the rest of the batting order will crumble and lack of quality all-rounder in the late order will not help India?s cause.
On the other hand, Indian bowling is lacking bites especially in the absence of Kumble, and the 9th wicket rearguard by Mashrafe and Shahadat in the Chittagong Test has badly exposed the truth. However, question remains whether our top-order batting can utilize the weakness before signing their suicide notes?
The weather is looking good, and better drainage system of Mirpur Stadium will probably ensure play for the best part of the Test. India is having their premier bowler Anil Kumble back for the Test. After the morale boosting draw in Chittagong, Bangladesh is expected to fight in Dhaka and a balanced performance from all departments of the team can only keep Bangladesh on the hunt for their first ever Test series victory against a quality opposition.