South Africa captain Graeme Smith (2nd from R) receives the Warid ODI Series trophy from Army chief General Moeen U Ahmed (L) during the presentation ceremony after the third and final match against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. Also seen in the picture are Bangladesh Cricket Board president Major General Sina Ibn Jamali (2nd from L) and sponsors Warid Telecom's chief executive officer Muneer Farooqui.Photo: Anisur Rahman
There was no sign of consolation for Moha-mmed Ashra-ful's men as their woes compounded following the end of their home campaign at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.
Not to mention why. If the Tigers' batting in the preceding two Tests and ODI's was horrible, than the efforts of the third one-dayer was almost indescribable and painful to watch.
The home captain was lucky enough to rightly call the coin for the third successive occasion and decide to bat first on a surface where batting in the afternoon was not an easy task at all. And South African skipper Graeme Smith made it clear how important it was to get the favour of luck on this kind of tricky track.
One may now ridicule with the popular proverb that says 'fortune favours the brave' after the Bangladesh team spoiled the opportunity. It hardly needs any explanation of what happened in the match when a team is bundled out for 143 runs in just 42.5 overs.
Local umpire Nadir Shah may have started the rot with what seemed to be an inaccurate decision against Tamim Iqbal but in the end, the 20,000-strong crowd in the big bowl forgot what Nadir did. They were rather searching for an answer: why come here to spoil a (weekly) holiday?
Tamim and his opening partner Shahriar Nafees were lucky enough to manage 34 runs for the first wicket and not to get out early after fishing around the off-stump against the rival new ball pair of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
And those who were hoping something from Ashraful's bat afterwards, were only disappointed. Without any doubt, it was a perfect delivery by Albie Morkel to pull but what the country's best batsman forgot was that he was not in good enough touch to go for the charge too early. Once again, the same old question arises: when will he understand his game?
Not to say anything of the newcomers because one may worry about the future of Bangladesh cricket as they simply gave the impression of how helpless our cricket is.
Bangladesh picked up eleven players who can bat but the outcome was nothing that could challenge the visitors.
One can take the words of Proteas captain Smith for answers about where the problem actually lies. The left-hander did not say anything directly but what he wanted to say was that the lack of responsibility in the Tigers' batting caused the damage.
He was also not ready to consider 'inexperience' behind the home side's debacle in the series.
"I am really happy with the outcome of the series because we, especially our young guys, showed character and the depth of the team. What impressed me most is the way the young players batted and bowled with responsibility," said Smith adding that their recent success was just the beginning of a bigger one in the year.
"You can't say that inexperience was the issue for your (Bangladesh) team. Just think we have some players who have played less matches than some of your cricketers. But they played with responsibility," he said of his colleagues.
"In this kind of condition it was not easy to play shots, but your batsmen did," he added.
He once again said that it would have been a difficult task for them to chase a total like 220 in this condition but Bangladesh lost an opportunity to put up the challenge despite winning the toss in all three games.
Understandably, there was hardly anything for the Bangladesh skipper Ashraful to say and he tried to accept everything that came from the reporters in the post-match briefing including the allegation that they were irresponsible.
And what the ace batsman got from the volatile pressman yesterday was definitely something new In his career and definitely he will try to erase the bitter memories as early as he can more so due to a procession outside the stadium that demanded his removal as captain.
The best way for him would be to realise his job as a batsman first.