Another step on the learning curve
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan was reluctant to give much away on the eve of the second and final Test against visiting England that starts at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today. The all-rounder was perhaps not interested to parrot the usual promises but coach Jamie Siddons stuck with his guns saying that he expected his boys to be consistent in their performance.
Without any doubt batting would be the key for the Tigers if they want to push their opponents hard in the second game like in the first one which they lost by 181 runs in Chittagong and the Australian believed that his batsmen should be consistent in their performance and they have to put the pieces together.
Wicketkeeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim was exceptional in Chittagong as the little right-hander gave the visitors a tough time in both innings and Siddons wants more from his batsmen to continue their improvement in the five-day game.
"The one thing we are looking for is to be consistent. All of our top order - apart from our number four position - are centurions in Test cricket now, and they have all made them in the last four months. But we're still having Mahmudullah making a fifty then nothing, Tamim [Iqbal] 80 then nothing, Shakib [Al Hasan] nothing then a score. To get scores of 400 you need more consistency than that," said the Bangladesh coach in a pre-match briefing at Mirpur yesterday.
"To make 630 over two innings against England was a reasonable effort, but we're still probably 150 short. Our players are all confident of performing at this level and they'll be confident of performing on that wicket. We just need them to put it together in the same match. That's what England did to us, and it's what we need to do back to them if we want to be successful," he added.
Siddons said that he has no expectations rather he wants his boys playing good cricket in the second Test.
"For me as usual it's about us playing our game as well as we can. No expectations, I just want our players to play well. Each day is different, expectations change every day, according to the situation of the game. I expect us to play pretty good cricket, it's our home conditions, and we played reasonably well at Chittagong," he said.
On a flat track in Chittagong, the Bangladesh bowling was terrible especially the performance of their two pace bowlers--Rubel Hossain and Shahadat Hossain--was nowhere near expectation. As expected the axe fell on Shahadat and Siddons was expecting his bowlers bowl in right areas in the second game.
"We bowled, I think, nine maidens in 145 overs. It's ridiculous, and it's not good enough. Test cricket should be a game where you have to work a lot harder for your runs, but we couldn't bowl on one side of the wicket, and when we wanted to bowl at the wickets we couldn't do that either."
Siddons also made it clear that they will not make the same mistake that they did in Chittagong if they win the toss with another spin-friendly surface in prospect.
"If the wicket plays the way we expect it to, and day one should be flat, if we win the toss we will bat. And if we do bowl I hope we put the ball in better areas and make them work a little harder for their runs. I expect it to turn a bit more towards the end of the game, because the footmarks play a bigger part on this wicket. Hopefully it will turn from day one, but we won't be taking that risk," he said.
Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaed Siddiqui, Jahurul Islam, Mahmudullah Riyad, Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Mushfiqur Rahim (wicketkeeper), Naeem Islam, Abdur Razzak, Shafiul Islam and Rubel Hossain.