A good chance squandered?
In the build-up to the first Test between Bangladesh and New Zealand, there was a guile of mystery surrounding what the playing surface at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium would play like.
Kiwi skipper Tim Southee, perhaps influenced by the greenish practice pitches in Sylhet, said that he expects to get a 'good surface' on the day before the match.
But history of the venue presented a different picture as in the only other Test played at the ground in 2018, spinners claimed a total of 32 wickets in a 151-run win for Zimbabwe against Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh team management also knew what to expect beforehand, which was evident from the fact that they had only one pacer in their team sheet and three spinners.
From that perspective, the match began perfectly for the Tigers. They won the toss and elected to bat first, hoping to pile up as many runs as possible and put the scoreboard pressure on the visitors.
The openers also set the tone -- at least somewhat -- by negotiating the early hint of swing and movement from Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson.
Introduced in the seventh over, left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, one of three available spinners in the Kiwi ranks, got the cherry to turn away and induce an outside edge off Mahmudul Hasan Joy in the fourth delivery he bowled -- indicating the turn already available in the surface.
But at the end of the day, Bangladesh's accumulation stands at an unimpressive 310 for nine -- a scoreline that only adds to the Tigers' regrets.
"We got dismissed playing rash shots," said a remorseful Joy, who missed out on his second Test ton by 14 runs, at the end-of-day press conference yesterday.
Joy's dismissal could be credited more to the bowler than to the fault in judgement of the batter -- he was taken at slip off the bowling of leg-spinner Ish Sodhi after a 166-ball 86.
But the likes of stand-in skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Nurul Hasan Sohan threw away their wickets with ordinary shots.
Even a part-time spinner like Glenn Phillips, who before the match had zero Test wickets, claimed a four-for, which only shows how the Tigers curated their own downfall in batting once again.
Stands of 53 and 88 at the top of the order -- between Shanto and Joy for the second wicket and Mominul and Joy for the third wicket respectively -- also highlights Bangladesh's failure to capitalise on the advantage of winning the toss and how their batters sullied good starts with poor judgments.
"Our plan was to get to around 350-380. We could not do that. However, we have some quality spinners who can hopefully bundle them [New Zealand] out for a lower total," Joy had to hope after a day that could have belonged to the Bangladesh batters.