IT COMES AT LAST: Bangladesh bats-man Junaed Siddiqui spreads his arms to salute the crowd upon reaching his maiden century on the final day of the first Test against England at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong yesterday.Photo: AFP
When Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan turned up for the post-match presentation, the small crowd at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium welcomed him by clapping. The performance of the all-rounder in the first Test was nowhere near expectation. Rather his poor decision to field first on a placid track had added some extra burden on the young Bangladesh skipper. The surprise 'retirement' of Rokibul Hasan on the eve of the match didn't help Shakib's cause either. So, it was his team's fighting spirit that went someway in quelling the pressure on Shakib despite the fact that they went down by 181 runs. Also, some decent batting performance from Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah Riyad, ton-maker Junaed Siddiqui and none other than Mushfiqur Rahim re-established the claim that 'this young side is improving.'
“After hard work on the field under such scorching heat it was not so easy to bat but I must say the boys showed their character in the end. I think we fought back in the second innings brilliantly especially it was encouraging the way Junaed Siddiqui and Mushfiqur Rahim batted through two sessions,” said Shakib in a post-match briefing.
“England have a long tradition in the game and it's a very good side but we fought hard and again gave the impression that we have the ability to do something special on home soil. Even we could achieve something big from this game had two batsmen (Junaed and Mushfiqur) survived at least forty minutes after lunch break,” he added.
“Before the start of the day's play, Jamie (Siddons) said that the team still has three batsmen in Junaed, Mushfiqur and Naeem Islam who have got the ability to score big runs. We never lost hope. After performing the job with the gloves for 140 overs it was not so easy for Mushi (Mushfiqur) to play such a good knock. We had a confidence also on Junaed because he played some good innings while Naeem may not have played a big knock but we all know that he is capable,” Shakib continued.
He said that after the first session of the fifth day morning they were sensing something big when Junaed and Mushfiqur continued their good showing to go for a happy lunch. “After the first session we thought of something big and the mood in the dressing room was fantastic. England bowlers worked hard and put the ball in right areas to put pressure on the two batsmen but Junaed and Mushfiqur played sensibly to frustrate them. Things could have been different if these two batsmen survived for quite sometimes after the break,” said Shakib.
The Bangladesh captain however was not frustrated with the result of the Test rather he was delighted with the bright spots.
“We are hardly bothered with the result rather we are looking to the bright sights. We had a decent batting in both innings and our pacers also bowled well and you see, previously hardly one batsman showed something but now two or three batsmen performed simultaneously in a match,” said a confident Shakib.'
The Bangladesh captain was also not ready to regret his decision to put their opponents in on a batting paradise.
“I'm not frustrated with the decision after the behavior of the pitch in the fifth day because still it was a good track for batting,” defended Shakib.
Bangladesh definitely can take something from the match when they play the second Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur but Shakib said that after a grueling five days play his boys were looking for some rest.