Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal (L) plays off his hips on way to making an unbeaten 81 while England star Paul Collingwood (above) salutes his teammates upon reaching his century on the second day of the first Test against England at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong yesterday.Photo: AFP
After the first day's play it was inevitable for Bangladesh that they would be put under a pile of runs on the second day of the first Test at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. And England had no problems executing their plan on the placid track as they declared the innings on a mammoth 599 for six just forty-five minutes ahead of the tea break leaving a challenge for the Bangladesh batsmen to survive after a hard day's work under scorching heat.
The whispering after the first day's play was whether this young side have mustered any competitiveness in the longer version and after Shakib Al Hasan's poor decision to field first, the batsmen could only give the perfect answer to the critics. But alas, the same old top-order collapse was revisited in the port city courtesy of poor shot selection to give a chance to raising questions towards Paul Collingwood in the press conference: "How do you rate Bangladesh in Test cricket or was it the easiest hundred for you?"
Many were even sensing a result inside three days. Star England batsman Collingwood, who struck a stroke-filled hundred, might have been polite in his answers but the Bangladesh score was 154-5, still 246 runs behind to save the follow-on, didn't reflect anything polite for the home team.
Imrul Kayes and Zunaed Siddiqui were found wanting against short-pitched bowling of Stuart Broad to cause early collapse but the promoted Mahmudullah Riyad seemed to salvage some pride when he was batting with Tamim Iqbal, on 81.
Riyad looked solid and elegant in his batting but lost his composure as Bangladesh missed an opportunity to finish the day with some pleasure. It made no sense to play a ridiculous sweep shot with only few overs remaining on the day when all he needed was to play safely to extend their fourth wicket partnership which ended at 94 runs. Captain Shakib Al Hasan also threw away his wicket to deepen the crisis. And here lies the problem of Bangladesh batting:
"We lost some wickets through poor shot selections as the pitch was really good for batting,” admitted Riyad, who has already impressed many with his batting.
The all-rounder however was very much confident about his team's chances of a turnaround in the match from a dire situation.
“Maybe tiredness was a reason behind the collapse. I still think there is a chance for us to avoid follow-on and put up a good total on the board because Mushfiqur (Rahim) and Nayeem (Islam) is still there to bat. And most importantly Tamim batted brilliantly and I hope he can carry on tomorrow (Sunday),” he said.
In the bleak sight that is Bangladesh's batting, local boy Tamim was exceptional. The left-hander fluently reached his half-century off 53 balls but for a change, the ever-improving batsman slowed down as wickets fell in a heap at the other end.
There was a ray of hope with Tamim's batting and the focus would be on him when the game resumes today. He is in best position to salvage some pride for the Tigers.