What were they thinking? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 30, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:39 AM, October 30, 2016

What were they thinking?

Are the Bangladesh fans destined to suffer some pain after all the brilliance in the ongoing two-match Test series against England?  That question came to mind when another absorbing day of Test cricket at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur saw some illogical moves from the hosts on the second day of the second and final Test yesterday.

It is not unprecedented in world cricket when tail-enders show great resistance against all odds, or when a batsman plays a bad shot to bring an end to a vital innings and put his team in trouble.

But the argument is whether captain Mushfiqur Rahim took logical decisions during the 99-run stand between tail-enders Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid, who dashed the home side's hope of taking a lead with stand.

There is also an argument whether there was any logic for Mahmudullah Riyad -- who fished for a ball outside off stump in the first innings -- to play such a mindless shot off the last ball of the day.

He became the centre of discussion for all the wrong reasons and disappointed everyone when the stage was all set for a brilliant finish.

Apart from these two things, we also could not also overlook the manner in which both Imrul Kayes and Riyad handled the situation when they suddenly came to know that they had to play fifteen extra minutes under fading light; we cannot overlook that because in  such a gripping Test, one needs to ensure that these finer issues are dealt with.

It is a necessary art in modern day cricket to learn the craft of how to dodge extra time under fading light to avoid any kind of hiccup.

Despite that late wicket, Bangladesh ended the day in a good position -- with a lead of 128 and seven wickets in hand. However, the frustration of not completely being in control of proceedings and the ability to not apply logic in certain decisions remained. It was nothing less than a dream start yesterday when the home side picked up five wickets before lunch and reduced the visitors, who had resumed the day at 53-3, to 144 for eight.

After that, Mushfiqur's men faced resistance from the two visiting tail-enders, Woakes and Rashid.

Bangladesh had the upper hand and the opportunity to take a valuable first innings lead, but they once again wasted that gleaming chance, much like they had done in their last game in Chittagong. By all accounts, they should have finished with a first innings lead rather than a 24-run deficit.

When the bowlers pick wickets, many of the captain's decisions might be overlooked. But when tricky situations like the one witnessed yesterday arise, it exposes the captain's thought process.

A captain needs to be proactive and think out of the box under such circumstances.

It is hard to find any logic as to why Mushfiqur allowed singles to Woakes and Rashid and spread the field with a long-on and four fielders near the rope, when he instead should have applied pressure.

Shuvagata Hom was chosen over Mosaddek Hossain as a spin option but the captain waited too long to introduce him into the attack. Then, all of a sudden, he tried to bring him in to break the partnership. It was also inexcusable the way Mushfiqur missed a few chances.

That loss though was amended when Tamim Iqbal once again set the tone and Bangladesh's objective became very clear -- to add as many runs as possible before the ball gets old and starts to reverse.

But it is still hard to accept the way Riyad swept across the line to a full delivery off the last ball of the day and saw his stumps get clattered.

Riyad's mindless shot brought back memories of Shakib Al Hasan's mad attempt to smack Moeen Ali off the second ball of the third day in the last Test.

Everytime we created an opportunity, we squandered it through an illogical move. The faster we can distance ourselves from these illogical moves, the faster we can progress.

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