Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim (L) and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan play a game of football as part of their training at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong yesterday. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das
Almost every aspect of Bangladesh's training yesterday, at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong, represented the hosts' desperate effort for a turnaround in the series.
From Mushfiqur Rahim grasping on to the induced-edges during catching practice and the likes of Imrul Kayes and Shamsur Rahman getting to bat ahead of Marshall Ayub at the nets, to breaking into a team huddle after every session, the hosts' did everything they could to ensure a fresh start ahead of the second Test tomorrow.
According to ace-allrounder Shakib Al Hassan, the mood at the camp was a lot better then the day after the drubbing innings defeat in Dhaka.
“The day after the first Test got over, everyone was down and felt sad, but at the moment everyone is fine and focussed for the next match,” said Shakib before the start of the camp.
“Matches can go bad, these things happen, but coming back is very important. We have come back from situations like these before, so we have that experience. We have to improve in all the aspects, the fielding especially is very important,” said the all-rounder.
Shakib's extra emphasis on fielding was understandable. The hosts had given away plenty of opportunities on the field at crucial intervals in the first Test.
“If you notice, the batsmen who scored big runs, such as Mahela [Jayawardene], all of them were given a chance, either through a stumping or a drop-catch. Even apart from Mahela, the other centurion got four to five lives.
“Had we grasped those opportunities they would have scored around 500 and there's plenty of difference between 500 and 700. When it became 700, we knew that we had no other option but to bat for two days and that was difficult,” said Shakib.
The surprising aspect was that Mushfiqur was the prime culprit on the field, dropping at least four chances, including that of centurions Jayawardene and Kaushal Silva. When asked if the captain required any words of encouragement from the senior players in the side, Shakib merely brushed the concern aside.
“Everyone is a professional, yes sometimes players need to be encouraged but I don't think that's the case for him (Mushfiqur). Mushfiqur's keeping has improved a lot more than before. He himself said that he does not remember the last time he had kept that way, so it can happen in a game. A batsman can be out for a duck, a bowler can give away more than a 100 runs, that day is long over,” said Shakib.
There's no doubt that this Bangladesh side has the ability to fight back from weary situations. At Galle last year, they over came a massive 570 against Sri Lanka by scoring 638 in the first innings. They also came back from a horrendous performance in the first Test to level the series against Zimbabwe in April last year.
The odds of levelling this series, on a flat deck at the ZACS, seem a lot more difficult. However, even before thinking of a win, their immediate aim will be to get their batting in order, an aspect which looked far from being set in the first Test.