“To me this is the best I have seen my batsmen commit,” was the delighted comment from Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim after his side overcame a fifth day hurdle with conviction yesterday.
Bangladesh's little master is not a man to be overwhelmed with success and yesterday was no exception, although he showered praise on the batsmen for a creditable draw during the post-match press conference.
“It's not equal to a win. The way we got out (in the first Test and first innings of the second Test) wasn't right in Test cricket at least, and in this case we have managed to improve a lot, so that's a good sign,” said Mushfiqur.
“Tamim (Iqbal) worked hard to stay and bat and Shuvo (Shamsur Rahman) and Imrul (Kayes) and Shakib (Al Hasan), so I think this is one of our most dominating draws. Because sometimes, yes, we play the whole series well and play well when in form, but this match we had to turn it around. Because we batted badly in the first Test, and then in the second Test we had bad shots in the first knock, overcoming all that and drawing is a good sign,” he continued.
He was however not fully satisfied with the outcome of the series. After the official press conference, where he came before Angelo Mathews, the gutsy Bangladesh skipper released a salvo for his counterpart when his attention was drawn by local reporters that Mathews had blasted the home side's lack of intent to win the game.
“I'm also surprised. If I was their captain then I would have definitely declared the innings with at least 20 overs left yesterday and with a 350 to 345-run lead,” he responded to his counterpart's observation of his side's lack of intent to chase down the 467-run target in 98 overs.
Replying to a question of Mathew's criticism over the unsporting wicket, Mushfiqur said: “It seems nobody is ready to give credit when we bat well. I didn't feel that their bowling was enough to take 20 of our wickets.”
With Bangladesh losing the two-match series 1-0, Mathews had said that there was no difference in losing a series by a 1-0 or 2-0 margin. Mushfiqur made his position very clear in response to this particular volley from the Sri Lanka skipper. “It may be the same for them but not for us. Despite the draw, I am disappointed because we could have drawn the series if we played the first match to our potential.”
Back to his team's batting performance in the second innings, the home skipper was effusive in praise of centurion Mominul Haque.
“I obviously had trust in him, but he might have been under pressure. We didn't have to tell him how to play, he was just telling us that he has to bat for one more hour. He was thinking about the team, and that's a good sign, hopefully we will all think that way.
“Yes we were a bit worried in that period, because the spinners were bowling well, but we had one belief that if there was a partnership it would not be that difficult. So before lunch we were a bit worried, but after that they settled and it never felt as though they would get out,” he added.
In the end Mushfiqur, who has been rested for the two-match T20 series, expressed his optimism over a return for the three-match ODI series to be held in Mirpur.