Bangladesh wilted under the Kolkata sun, surviving for just 47 minutes on the third to lose the second Test at the Eden Gardens by an innings and 46 runs yesterday. At the end of the second day, Mushfiqur Rahim was left alone for an impossible task of trying to bat with tail-enders and make India bat again, trailing by 89 runs. The Tigers survived just 8.4 overs, bowled out for 195 on Day Three with Mahmudullah Riyad, who suffered a hamstring strain on Day Two and retired hurt, unable to bat.
From the start of the day, Mushfiqur, who had batted brilliantly the prior day, looked to unsettle the India pacers. But a rash charge down the wicket on just the fourth delivery of the day signaled that the Tigers have a long way to go in this format. It possibly also signaled that Mushfiqur had to bat out the session with the tailenders and would not have Riyad for company.
Ebadot Hossain fell with just the 10th delivery of the day, fending a bouncer from Umesh Yadav but only managing to lob it to Virat Kohli at slips. Number 10 batsman Al Amin Hossain survived a few deliveries but the short deliveries that rattled almost all the Bangladesh batsmen -- with two concussion substitutes required for Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan -- perhaps played on the Tigers mind. That brought out an approach from Mushfiqur that did not fit Test cricket.
Having played so well on Day Two, he perished trying to hit Yadav over infield after scoring 74. Yadav produced the slightest edge off Al Amin’s bat in his next over to claim his fifth wicket of the match and with Mahmudullah unable to bat, India claimed a record fourth successive innings win, having trounced South Africa twice earlier at home.
The win also handed India their seventh consecutive Test win. On the other hand, the Tigers were left pondering their fifth consecutive Test defeat, with four ending in innings defeats.
Mahmudullah Riyad, Mustafizur Rahman, Al Amin and Test captain Mominul Haque returned to Dhaka yesterday with the rest of the Tigers expected to fly within a day or two.
With the Test series ending 2-0, the Tigers ended their tour of India empty handed. However, their tour had begun on a much more hopeful note. Having battled thick and hazardous smog at New Delhi, the Tigers had begun the T20I series with a bang as Mushfiqur Rahim guided them to victory on the opening T20I.
Led by Mahmudullah Riyad, the team had found some positive energy and the win helped them overcome the turbulence that had overshadowed the country’s cricketing focus before the series following the ban handed by the ICC to ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.
They were then swept aside by a Rohit Sharma storm at Rajkot in the second T20I and even after an incredible performance from Mohammad Naim in the third T20I, they once again fell away while on the brink of victory.
There was however no time to lick wounds as the team had just three days before the Test series began.
The congested nature of the series meant Bangladesh -- who had eight players coming in to Nagpur to join the other members -- had little time for preparation for the longest and most difficult format.
It showed from the very first day of the first Test at Indore when they were bundled out for 150, their technical flaws exposed, on a seaming track built for magnificent Test cricket.
Abu Jayed showed promise with the ball, picking up four top-order batsmen but India opener Mayank Agarwal made Bangladesh pay with a double hundred after being dropped early in the innings. The rest of the bowlers failed to show up and then India once again ran through the Bangladesh lineup to hand them an innings and 130-run defeat at Indore.
The pink-ball day-night Test at Kolkata had dominated discussion even prior to the first Test and it came to the fore with both teams getting some last-minute preparations done at Indore with the first Test ending inside three days.
A pink festival awaited the Tigers at Kolkata but they could not be party to the celebrations. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had arrived as the chief guest for both India and Bangladesh’s first pink-ball match, accepting an invitation from BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly. Everything went according to plan except the Tigers’ performance.
Or perhaps not much should have been expected of a team which just could not get into Test gear against a side of India’s stature. Having opted to bat, amidst the din of a capacity crowd, Bangladesh were bowled out for 106 runs in the first innings on Day One.
In the end, it concluded on Day Three, the management of the team shambolic considering their ignorance about getting in a replacement for Mosaddek Hossain, who had returned to the country following the T20I series due to personal reasons.
“Struggle makes people stronger,” Test captain Mominul Haque said at a press conference yesterday. “Without being disappointed, you have to find out what you can learn from such struggles. Professional players do that,” he reiterated.
Losing both Tests inside three days should bring Bangladesh’s focus on Tests under question. There is no place to hide in this format and the defeats further pointed to the gulf in mentality between Bangladesh and the top teams.
“We have many areas to improve upon. If we can improve then we can play better in the upcoming matches,” Mominul said after two defeats that once again exposed the team’s abilities.
The T20I series result could be forgotten. On the international circuit, Tests are the only basis for earning respect, but Bangladesh’s struggles in this format seems to go up a notch with every series.
2ND TEST BRIEF SCORE
BANGLADESH: First innings 106 all out in 30.3 overs
INDIA: First innings 347 for 9 decl in 89.4 overs (Kohli 136, Pujara 55, Rahane 51; Al-Amin 3-85, Ebadot 3-91)
BANGLADESH: Second innings 195 all out in 41.1 overs (Mushfiqur 74, Mahmudullah retired hurt 39, Al-Amin 21; Ishant 4-56, Yadav 5-53)
Result: India won by an innings and 46 runs and clinched the two-match series 2-0.
Player-of-the-match: Ishant Sharma.
Player-of-the-series: Ishant Sharma.