Shakib Al Hasan (L) congratulates man-of-the-series Robiul Islam for his outstanding performance in the series in which he took 15 wickets. Photos: AFP
The last time Bangladesh won a Test match was against a second-string West Indies side in West Indies in July 2009, when they won both their Tests. Before that they had only won one Test, against Zimbabwe in January 2005 in Chittagong. Bangladesh were expected to win the first Test of this series and also on their last visit to Zimbabwe in 2011, but both occasions finished in failure. So when they came from behind and levelled the series with a 143-run win yesterday, it was a bit surprising to see the lack of celebrations from the team. Upon deeper consideration it probably told of the changing expectations not only from the fans, but within the team itself.
The team had earlier decided not to celebrate or sing the team song in the event of their fourth Test win out of respect for the near-400 dead and those affected by the Savar building collapse. But looking at their reactions when Shakib Al Hasan trapped last man Kyle Jarvis leg-before, relief was the dominant emotion ahead of joy.
Coach Shane Jurgensen pointed at the debilitating tragedy for the muted reaction to a momentous win, but also thought that the Tigers' situation in the current tour played a part. “We have only levelled the series here, they may have been more happy had we won or drawn the first Test and taken the series, because we had been playing well before coming here,” said the coach, alluding to the Tigers' recent successes at home and the historic tour of Sri Lanka.
“This win feels good, but we should have played well in the first Test as well and won both Tests. We would have won the series 2-0 if we played well in the first Test, which everyone in the team thinks we did not play to our potential,” said skipper Mushfiqur Rahim after the match. That he is still lamenting the loss in the first Test, despite the more recent victory, speaks to a progress in the expectations of the team.
“When we were put in to bat in this match, we were worried about the wicket and memories of not reaching 150 in either innings in the first Test were still fresh. But the seniors played well -- Tamim (Iqbal) gave us a good start and Shakib, Nasir (Hossain) and myself took the team to a score from which we could take a first innings lead. The lead of 109 was the most important component of this victory,” said the skipper who was adjudged man of the match for his twin fifties, including 93 in the second dig.
Star all-rounder Shakib, who has only recently recovered from a shin bone operation, had been kept out of the attack for long periods of the last day. “He had bowled with pain throughout the match, but he will do anything for the team. Today I did not want to bowl him, thinking that the other bowlers would do the job. But in the end, although the others bowled well, he was required in the end and he delivered with the winning wicket.”
Robiul Islam was adjudged the man-of-the-series for his 15 wickets. Mushfiqur had special words of praise for him. “I think he has been so successful because of the hard work that he has put in. As a captain he is a special bowler because you know whenever you give him the ball he will give his hundred percent,” said Mushfiqur.
Although the pace attack was a matter for concern it passed the Test series with flying colours as apart from Robiul, comeback man Sajidul Islam bowled well without a wicket, and debutant Ziaur Rahman took four wickets in the second innings, including the prized one of Brendan Taylor.
“If you think back, the pace attack was a concern not long ago, but I believed that if the conditions assisted them they will be successful,” said the skipper.
Ziaur Rahman cut a happy figure after helping his team win the match on his debut. “I feel very happy and lucky to win a Test on debut,” he said. The all-rounder did not have a happy time with the ball in the first innings and with the bat in both knocks, but came into his own in the latter stages. “The wicket helped me and the captain told me to stick to my line, which is stump-to-stump, and I was successful.”
Sajidul Islam, although wicketless, was happy to have taken part in the win. “I didn' t take wickets, but it feels great to win a match on my comeback. I bowled well without much luck. Taking wickets is also a matter of luck.”
The relief was writ large as after the game, all players engaged in a game of football away from public eyes, when the cameras had shut down. As they laughed amongst themselves , there was not the euphoria after the Asia Cup wins, for example, but a contentment that they had gotten the train back on track.