After conceding two clean sweeps in back to back series of two different shorter format, it was quite unexpected from Bangladeshi players to punch back strongly in the tougher format of test cricket. Losing six matches in a row is not a facile thing to elapse and the players had obviously possessed some sort of disappointments five days ago. Bangladesh have lost the match, it’s true, but they can still cherish their achievements which they have gained from these glorious five days. One has to remember that, every subcontinent team suffers in the windy, chilly and bouncy condition of New Zealand and Bangladesh is not excluded of that list.
The wicket of Basin Reserve may seem advantageous to bat on but the severe wind and blunt soil always make the life difficult of any sub-continent batsman. India have played 14 tests here and they have only won two matches. Remarkably, both those matches were played in 1968 when India had toured New Zealand for the first time and New Zealand were still struggling to consolidate their position in international cricket. After that, India’s all golden generations, all batting geniuses had embarked their foot-mark on this ground but didn’t able to come out as a winner. Gautam Gambhir is the highest scorer on this ground for India who had scored 167 runs back in 2009. India’s highest team total on this ground is 438. Sri Lanka have played 9 matches here and they have also won two out of them. Pakistan, however, is the most successful team here from the subcontinent as they have won five matches out of 13.
Bangladesh had played two matches here prior to this test match and were never able to cross 150 mark as their highest team total was only 143. In this test, they have surpassed those sore memories magnificently and reached to a pinnacle of 595, which is the highest team total of any visiting team from subcontinent. Shakib al Hasan’s double ton has rewritten many records as well. He has become the highest individual scorer of Bangladesh in test cricket and his partnership with Mushfiq has become the fourth highest fifth wicket partnership in the history of test cricket. Bangladesh also did well in the bowling section as they have bowled out New Zealand to take a decent lead of 56 runs. Imrul Kayes made a world record of taking 5 catches as a substitute wicket keeper.
Bangladesh didn’t do well in their second innings, but the sakes not only fall on Bangladeshi batsmen. Bangladesh had been plagued seriously by injuries all along the match and after the end of day four, the batting lineup was completely shattered. Mushfiq played this test after recovering from a hamstring injury and again got hurt on thumb by a short pitched delivery. He had carried on, despite bearing this pain, in the first innings to score an astounding hundred but at the same time worsened his thumb situation. In the second innings, he had to leave the field on stretcher and immediately went to the hospital just after enduring a massive strike on the head. Prior to that, Imrul Kayes cramped himself while taking a quick single and left the ground. For the sake of his team, he came to bat again but was unable to rotate the strike due to existing strain.
It’s difficult to tell what would happen if Bangladesh could play their second innings with a full intact team. Team strategy might be different in that case and Shakib mightn’t go to play such a brute stroke in the very first over of the day. Sabbir might also keep his head cool and elongate his innings further. Despite the loss, Bangladesh can still accrue abundant confidence from this test match. Bangladesh lost the first match in a similar fashion against England in the last series at home, but they had come back strongly in the second and won that to level the series. Will it happen this time?