Bangladesh, do not often go into the second Test of two-match series with a 1-0 lead, especially when the name of the opposition is Australia. A win or a draw at Chittagong would ensure Mushfiqur Rahim’s team its maiden series win over Australia, which undoubtedly will be the most prestigious achievement for Bangladesh in its 17 years history of Test cricket.
Nevertheless, the Tigers are fully aware of the fact that they are up against a hurt Australian team which will go all-out to salvage some pride following a humiliating defeat at Mirpur. The hosts also know any sort of complacency can spoil their party here. Thus, skipper Mushfiqur urges his teammates to tighten the screws ahead of the final battle.
“Some become rapt in happiness [Following the triumph at Mirpur] but we have talked about this. But we don’t get these chances every day. We are 1-0 ahead but Australia will respond strongly. We bounced back well in our last two series. It proves the progress in our mental capacity,” the Bangladesh captain mentioned in his pre-match press conference.
He, in fact, expects his boys, especially the youngsters, to come out and play better cricket than what they did in the first Test.
“Winning doesn’t mean we can’t improve or work on our game anymore. This is a crucial match for us as we are 1-0 ahead. The Australians have played many matches under such pressure, so they know how to bounce back. But we are confident because we do well in home conditions”.
“Apart from Shakib and Tamim, the rest of the lineup couldn’t give even 90 per cent input. I think everyone has to contribute, even the bowlers. Miraz and Taijul are capable of bowling better. The message is clear that all of us need to perform, not just one or two. They are all fresh, ready to go,” he mentioned.
Interestingly, the Aussies haven’t declared their eleven yet, which they generally do on the penultimate day of the Test match. It has been learnt the visitors are still not sure about their bowling combination on this particular Chittagong wicket, which is expected to be a slow turner.
For, the Bangladesh captain, this is a huge moral victory.
“They know they are under pressure because normally they announce the XI. In this case, they haven’t announced the XI. But as I said, the Australia team are very strong and they will come back hard. We know that. But our boys are also pretty fresh and they are very consistent in Chittagong also. So, if we do the right things I think the result will come our way.
“It is a morale boost. They are probably under pressure but it doesn’t mean they will lose. They are a professional side so they know what they have to do. But they have also figured out that we are quite dangerous too. They now understand that they must plan well against us.”
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh skipper also feels the weather is going to play a key role in the outcome of this fixture. The met department has predicted patchy rain and thunderstorms during the course of the Test match. But, Mushfiqur is banking on the ‘excellent’ drainage facilities of the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium to get a result here.
“The drainage system at Chittagong is very good. We have seen matches resuming over here within half an hour of a heavy shower. I feel, if we can have played for three or three and a half days, we can get a result. Like Dhaka, I expect another exciting Test over here,” he said.
With an inconsistent weather predicted at Chittagong, Mushifiqur was asked in the press conference that whether Bangladesh should try to ‘play safe’ in the second Test and try to secure a series win.
Well, the Bangladesh skipper without any delay discarded this defensive theory.
“There is no way we will play safe cricket. We always play to win against every side. We could have played for a draw against England, by using a flat surface, but we didn’t do it. We wanted to look for a result by using our strength. Safe cricket is not an option for us because you can’t win against a side like this by doing so. We have to be more aggressive than them.”
This is the positive frame of mind, which has taken Bangladesh cricket so far in recent years. This team believes, at home, they can beat any team in the world. So, rest assured, Bangladesh on Monday will come out with an attacking mindset.
If rain prevails, we can expect another exciting contest at Chittagong.