When Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim trudged back to the dressing room with head hung low after successful spinner Dilruwan Perera bamboozled him with one which turned into him from outside off, it gave one the feeling that the little man was trying to hide his head in shame because of the embarrassment his team had caused. .
With his dismissal Bangladesh went for lunch at 150 for six, thus ensuring that there would be no fight from the Tigers in the first Test match at a time when a cold wave of fear, brought on by the threat of virtual Test relegation, washed over the country's cricket fraternity. Mushfiqur will certainly know that after such a performance no amount of protection from the administrators can silence the critics nor make claims for greater opportunities for his team.
On the fourth day at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday the Tigers completed their slide back to a sordid past by suffering an innings-and-248-run defeat at the hands of clinical Sri Lanka, who recorded their second-biggest innings win by wrapping up the match an hour after lunch on the fourth day.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the home batsmen were found wanting in the rudiments of batting in both innings. From the experienced Tamim Iqbal to young Mominul Haque, hardly anyone displayed signs of coherent thinking while batting. In terms of a result there was nothing left for the Tigers after the third day's play but there was still a lot to prove when they resumed on the fourth day on 35 for one.
A meaningful second innings played with the right approach would have not only provided them a much-needed confidence boost for the second Test, starting from February 4 at Chittagong, but would also be a good advertisement of their recent growth in longer-version cricket, but it looked like they were in a hurry to avail the extra rest an early finish would provide. Their approach yesterday seemedto say: “when the result is obvious then what is the point of working hard”.
The Bangladesh team management had promised 'positive' and 'aggressive' cricket against Sri Lanka but one could not understand what it meant after watching the Tigers' performance in the first Test. One has to wonder whether the team think-tank was able to truly communicate to the boys what they meant by positive cricket.
They failed to capitalise on a very good batting track while the bowling was below standard, while the opposition bowlers bowled to a plan.
This same side however has showed over the last one-and-a-half years that they have the ability to challenge their opponents, especially in their own den. They must identify what went wrong before the second Test rolls around, because Test opportunities for Bangladesh are too rare to squander.