Tigers staring down the barrel | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 15, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:13 AM, November 15, 2019

Tigers staring down the barrel

Before the series began there were assertions about how difficult a challenge the Test series against India would be, compared to the recently-concluded T20I series against the same opposition. The Tigers put up a fight in the T20I series but lost 2-1, but the Test series was a different proposition altogether and India’s bowling attack took no time to showcase just how difficult Bangladesh’s task was on Day one of the first Test in Indore yesterday.

Bangladesh are already well behind in the match as India were 86 for one at the end of the day, needing just 64 more to start building a huge first-innings lead.  

The pitch had some grass left on it and the hard surface was presumably going to favour pacers early on. Despite that, it was a brave decision from the team think-tank to bat first, a decision that ‘surprised’ the India camp as well. The pace trio of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami swung the ball both ways and at pace throughout the day and their immaculate line and length tested the batsmen’s patience. The late swing undid even set batsmen and Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque, with 37, and Mushfiqur Rahim with team high score of 43, were the bright flashes of a dim display as Bangladesh fell to a lowly first innings score of 150. Ishant, Umesh and Shami bagged seven wickets between them.

Mominul was of the opinion that the wicket -- a sporting track -- was not unplayable and that if it was, he and Mushfiqur would not have built a 68-run partnership. “Because we fell for a small total, I feel that my decision [to bat first] was wrong. At times, your decision can be right; it can be wrong too. If you finish the innings nicely, this thought wouldn’t have come. Mushfiqur and I adapted well and built a partnership. We struggled after the sudden collapse,” he said.

India dropped five catches but Bangladesh could not cash in. Mushfiqur, dropped thrice, could not reach fifty due to relentless pressure from India’s bowlers. While India looked prepared, Bangladesh’s preparation was brought into question. 

“I think our preparation was good, those who are playing. You might say that we haven’t played bowlers like this before,” Mominul said.

Blame will be apportioned on the team management after Bangladesh picked two pacers on a pace-friendly track. “We don’t have enough four-day bowlers in our stock. It is difficult. Bangladesh always concentrates more on batting, that’s why we played two fast bowlers. We wanted to play an extra batsman,” Mominul said on the team’s thought process.

With unbeaten Indian batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara (43) and Mayank Agarwal (37) batting comfortably, Mominul admitted that his team was up against it. “In reality, we have fallen behind a lot. It’s very difficult after you scored 150. No matter how positive you are, it’s difficult.”

India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said that a few Bangladesh batsmen had done well during the morning session. I thought some of their batsmen batted beautifully in the morning, it’s never easy to come and play on a wicket that’s got a bit of life. It was damp. And I thought Mominul Haque and some of the other batters batted beautifully.

“You need to also understand that our team has got a lot of experienced Test cricketers… we average almost 40-50 Test matches. A lot of players on the other side are inexperienced. Bangladesh played some good cricket in the morning and eventually they lost out to some persistent bowling from our side,” Ashwin reiterated.

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