Bangladesh in dire straits
The sight of Mushfiqur Rahim trudging a long way back to the dressing room with his head hanging over his shoulders perfectly portrayed the state of the Tigers at the end of the second day's play of the second and final Test against Pakistan at Mirpur yesterday.
The Bangladesh captain was the last batsman out on the last ball of the day, a googly from Yasir Shah that the right hander tried to cut on the back-foot but was clean bowled.
An expert may term Mushfiqur's dismissal an irresponsible shot from a responsible batsman. But for many it was only an extension of wrong planning; a ridiculous decision to bowl first followed by poor batting in the last session of the second day.
The impact; the dreadful prospect of a follow-on -- if not an innings defeat -- against a Pakistan bowling attack that whispered in the ears 'welcome to the real Test on a responsive wicket'.
The Tigers, who had to bat only one session after Pakistan declared their first innings on 557 for 8 at tea, were tottering at 107 for 5 going into the third day. They still need another 251 runs to avoid the follow on with four wickets remaining, as injured pace bowler Shahadat Hossain won't be able to bat.
But will that really matter for a team that has lost the better half of its batting in one session just to give a rude reminder to its captain that there is little difference between the first and sixth sessions of a Test match.
After fielding for almost two days under scorching summer sun, the Tigers' batting lacked the mental discipline against an attack that sprang to life on a wicket that produced bounce and turn.
Tamim Iqbal paid the penalty for shuffling across against Junaid Khan. It was almost a replay of the second innings of the first Test in Khulna, where he got the benefit of the umpire's doubt. But this time the bowler got the benefit of the doubt although the ball struck the upper part of his front pad. He scored 4.
Mominul Haque (13) paid the penalty for playing a cut shot. Imrul Kayes (32) was looking solid with some exciting shots, including four consecutive boundaries against Junaid, until Yasir sneaked one between his bat and pad, a good tossed up delivery which the left-hander missed.
Mahmudullah Riyad (28) perhaps got the most vicious delivery of the day, a nasty snorter from Wahab Riaz that he could only fend off to short leg.
Shakib Al Hasan, who was dropped at first slip by Younis Khan after Yasir got an outside edge, is now left to do a miracle along with Soumya Sarkar and Shuvagata Hom today.
Earlier, Bangladesh started the day well, with Shakib removing Pakistan skipper Misbahul Haq in the second over without a run being added to the overnight score of 323 for three.
But Azhar Ali converted his overnight hundred to his maiden double-century and Asad Shafiq made 107 as the two batsmen added 207 runs for the fifth wicket.
Pakistan lost wickets in quick succession towards the end of the second session but it bore no real impact on the match as the Tigers' batting faltered against some determined bowling.