When whims dominate over common sense, no team can expect to escape humiliation, especially when its Test cricket. No wonder, Bangladesh are paying the price of being whimsical, in short term – a shambolic defeat on Test return, in long term – more depressing developments are on the way. It takes quite some time to build any image, and takes no time to tarnish it. Bangladesh took a very wrong time to ruin its hard earned image in a series which was branded as grudge series, especially after the happenings of March 17 in Trinidad and Tobago.
Fierce and relentless criticism is a part and parcel of Bangladesh Test history. After some significant developments over the last few years, it appeared Bangladesh have finally managed to leap forward, and those dark old days will remain as the birth pain of Bangladesh cricket. The coach and captain, who led the renaissance of Bangladesh cricket, made a horrendous mistake to remind everyone the dark old days of Bangladesh Test cricket, ironically in the last Test of Whatmore as Bangladesh coach. Nothing could be more shameful for him to see the largest dip in performance graph during his tenure, and he played a crucial role to create this painful mess.
Everyone expected Bangladesh will put up a good show after drawing the Chittagong Test, and Whatmore’s farewell Test added some more light into it. Habibul Bashar, who rued his luck with tosses in the past, managed to win the toss and through that gained the right to use the wonderful batting surface ahead of their opponents. Bangladesh were already depleted due to absence of Shahadat Hossain, one of the hero of Chittagong Test, another premier bowler Mashrafe Mortaza was struggling with fitness, and Mohammad Sharif made a Test comeback after 5 years injury break. Bashar probably had the ideal stage to take the easiest decision on earth after winnings the toss, bat first, give the bowlers some time to recover and use the fresh legs to dismantle India after posting a good total on a placid surface.
Unfortunately for Bangladesh, the decision which looked obvious didn’t turn out to be reality, for inexplicable reason, Whatmore and Bashar decided to play the worst gamble of Test cricket history. They invited a batting line-up to use the surface first in which the first five batsmen share about 500 Test caps and 30,000 Test runs between them. What went through their mind in the very moment will be never known, misreading the wicket is a lame excuse, a captain of 43 Tests and a coach with 13 years experience in the sub-continent should be able to assess the wicket condition.
India took the unexpected gift with both hands, and piled a mammoth total to take the game away from Bangladesh. To be honest, Indians have only played according to the merit of the situation, its Bangladesh, who threw the game away at the very beginning and Indians were lucky to be at the receiving end.
In the process of posting an imposing total of 610-3d, Indians made records after records to rub the salt to the wound generously exposed to them by Bangladesh. After 160 overs of testing time under hot and humid conditions, India finally decided to give some relief to the Bangladeshi bowlers. They could have easily broken many other batting records, but they decided to toy the batsmen, after dismantling the bowling attack.
And the inevitable happened, Bangladeshi batsmen came in the middle with a mountain to climb, after the exhausting two days in the field; they were battered mercilessly by the Indian new ball bowlers. Bangladesh, initially reduced to 7-4, finished the day on 58-5, and the captain, who brought so much misery to the team with the decision, have contributed only 4 with the bat. Bangladeshi players have finally got some rest in the pavilion, but definitely not they way they would have liked.