Having won the toss, Bangladesh elected to bat first in the historic pink ball Test against India at the Eden Gardens yesterday. There was yet another batting collapse from the Bangladesh team as they were bundled out for 106 in 30.3 overs and the pink ball had nothing do with it.
With the afternoon start, there was only slight early movement but most of the time the ball only moved exaggeratedly after it passed the batsman. India’s Cheteshwar Pujara recently talked about playing close to the body and getting behind the line of the delivery while batting against the pink ball. Tigers were often late in their shots with both Mohammad Mithun and Mushfiqur Rahim getting inside edges that crashed onto their stumps. National selector Habibul Bashar reached the conclusion that the batsmen were moving too slowly against the India fast bowlers.
“I think they were beaten by pace. I think our batsmen were often moving quite slowly against raw pace on this kind of wicket,” Bashar surmised after the top four batmen fell within the first 12 overs.
Technique has been a problem for Bangladesh in the longest version of the game where batsmen have to persevere on tracks that offer some help to the bowlers. “You can see the way our four batsmen got out. It simply showed that they just could not react as per requirement. It is an area of concern.
“Surely it is technical and we need to work out this aspect of the game,” he said.
Batting debacles have become pretty regular in Bangladesh’s Test cricket and against the quality Indian pace attack, that trend continued yesterday after they had lost the first Test inside three days. The Tigers chose to bat first on a good wicket and they did not even make it to dusk, when the pink ball is supposed to move around more, as was evidenced when Bangladesh’s bowlers got generous movement throughout the evening session. India had however persevered to 174 for three, a 68-run first-innings lead that is already looking formidable.
“I don’t think pink ball is the major concern and what I personally feel is that batsmen should not have big problem seeing the ball. Batting first was not a problem because if you are unable to bat, then that would be the case with the second innings also,” Bashar added.
The team lost the first Test by an innings and against the test set by the India fast bowlers, the batsmen were perhaps lacking in confidence, according to Bashar. The top-order were playing away from the body and there was tentativeness whenever the pacers bowled in the cordon of uncertainty on and around off stump.
“I think they are lacking in confidence and probably that is the reason they are making the same mistakes,” he said.
Former wicketkeeper-batsman Khaled Masud, who along with Bashar was an invitee to the occasion of India’s first pink-ball Test as members of Bangladesh’s first Test team, said: “It’s not good, I think they could have done better.
“The wicket is not otherworldly. When you play Tests, you need to cope with movement. You have to be ready whether it’s a spinning track or a seaming one. You have to be ready for both.”
Asked if it was a lack of mental strength, he insisted a lack of preparation was the cause. “It’s a lack of preparation. I think the things you need preparation for in Tests is lacking.”
Bangladesh were once again undone by the pace trio of Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma with the latter running through the lower middle-order and tail-enders to bag five wickets.
“You need preparation to execute. The opposition has three quality pacers. You have fast bowlers in other teams who provide loose balls but they [India trio] are well formed and are express. When you face them you need the best preparation,” Masud concluded.