The media were made to wait quite some time for a Bangladeshi cricketer to show up to the mandatory post-day press conference following yet another disappointing showing on the third day of the one-off Test against Afghanistan yesterday.
The atmosphere in the Bangladesh dressing room was similar to the skies above the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram, which had turned gloomy and dark. The home side will be looking for a miracle or hoping for rain, which is in the forecast for the next two days, to save face against a side playing just their third Test.
After securing a 137-run first-innings lead, Afghanistan are now leading by a huge 374 runs after finishing the third day on 237 for 8. Ibrahim Zadran’s 87 was the highlight of the day, which was eventually called off early due to bad light after a power failure at the venue led to the floodlights going out.
Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan had tried to overshadow his team’s poor performance the previous day by blaming the pitch, which according to him behaved completely opposite to what they had expected. However, that didn’t look convincing after the Tigers’ dismal performance continued on the third day as well.
Finally, one of the members of the Bangladesh team appeared but only to explain the dismal showing in typical manner -- saying that the Tigers were still hoping to make a comeback. There were also attempts to defend the team with time-worn logic -- cricket is a game of great uncertainty and anything can happen.
Bangladesh may have never scored more than 217 runs in their second innings and no team may have ever managed to win a game at this ground in chase of more than 317, but the spokesperson for the Tigers -- Mehedi Hasan Miraz -- followed the same pattern when asked if there was a chance for Bangladesh to win this game.
“Anything can happen in cricket. We will try our best because we still have two days left. Our first job is to pick their two wickets quickly and then our batsmen need to take the responsibility in the second innings. Obviously, I believe that anything can happen in cricket. A team can lose a game from a winning position or a side from a losing situation can go on to win the game easily. There are a lot of instances like that in cricket,” an optimistic Miraz said.
When asked if the Tigers had ever thought they would be in such a position after the third day, that too against newcomers to Test cricket like Afghanistan, the 21-year-old credited the opposition batsmen for showing a great amount of patience.
He added that Afghanistan were able to quickly adapt to playing Test cricket, which gave them success so far in the game, and that they were better prepared for the challenge.
After that answer, a bouncer came towards Miraz. He was asked what Bangladesh had learned after completing 19 years in the Test arena and, as he tried to duck awkwardly, he said: “They have just started playing Test cricket so the excitement will work for them more. They want to prove themselves to world cricket and they came here mentally prepared for that. Our preparations were also good. We managed to beat Australia and England. It’s just that we are having a bad time but it’s not like we have never won a Test match.”