Published: January 21, 2010
Will it be an interesting final day after Bangladesh were set a mammoth target to achieve in the exciting first Test? If you take the answer from Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan, the answer is positive. There was no shortage of confidence from the Tigers’ young skipper as he was speaking on his team’s chances after the fourth day’s play at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in the port city yesterday, and why not when his side are playing decent cricket against the world’s number one Test team from the very first day.
One might think that the 415-run target is too much for the hosts considering their batting strength, but Shakib made it clear that they would go into the final day with an eye on victory despite having already lost two wickets for 67. His team’s plan is simple: batting the whole day on a very good track. Bangladesh were still trailing by 348 runs at sumps.
“All three options are open: we can win the game, we can lose the game or the game can be drawn. But we have a very simple target, which is to bat the whole day, and if we can do that it would not be an impossible task to achieve the target. You never know, it might turn out to be a big day for our cricket. So, winning is our only target,” said a confident Shakib.
“The wicket is very good for batting. Now everybody from Tamim [Iqbal] to Rajib bhai [Shahadat Hossain] should take the responsibility to execute our plan in the middle. We will try our best to achieve a good result in the match,” he added.
He however said that the mood in the dressing room was excellent despite losing the wickets of opener Imrul Kayes and one down Shahriar Nafees. “I think I am little bit nervous but my colleagues are very much confident,” he jokingly said when asked whether he was the only one confident about the victory.
There is one instance when Bangladesh scored 400-plus runs in the second innings of a Test match and that was against Sri Lanka while chasing a 521-run target at Mirpur in December 2008 but Shakib said that they were not thinking about that.
“One can take inspirations from that or one can take inspirations from their individual achievements like Tamim from his hundred and Ashraful from his 158 runs against the same opponents. But as I said, our main focus should be to bat the whole day,” he responded when being reminded of their brilliant effort against Sri Lanka.
Patience would be key for the remaining batsmen if they want to pull off their biggest success in the longer-version game and without any doubt the two not out batsmen Tamim (23) and Ashraful (16) will have to take the responsibility first to lay the foundation on the fifth morning.
One might be scared with the way the Bangladesh batsmen batted in the latter part of the day after India declared their second innings on 413-8, especially the dismissal of Kayes and Nafees hardly reflected any application in their batting.
Left-handed opener Kayes pressed forward against a lovely delivery from Zaheer Khan, who had pitched it on a good length outside off, to offer a simple catch for wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik while it was ugly to watch the way Nafees was struggling from the very beginning.
It is not easy for Nafees to get his feet back at the highest level after two years of isolation from the longer-version game. But the batsman can’t be blamed for that rather it was the selectors who surprisingly failed to consider the fact that the batsman had only played T20 and 50-over matches during that period.
Nafees was dropped twice by VVS Laxman at slip and on both occasions the unlucky bowler was Zaheer Khan but the southpaw batsman failed to ride his luck as lanky Ishant Sharma got an edge to gully where stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag took a low catch.
The batsmen however can take inspiration from the bowlers who bowled really well on a flat track to stop the India’s run spree on the fourth day. Bangladesh skipper was pleased with their bowling efforts against a vaunted batting line-up.
“I’m really happy with our bowling performance especially the three pace bowlers were excellent. I must give them special thanks,” he said.