The story of Bangladesh’s struggle continues……
Shakib Al Hasan’s luck in winning the toss seems pretty good. So far, in his second stint as the captain of Bangladesh Test side, he has outweighed his opposite number on both the occasions. But at the end of the day, the victory at the toss is not creating enough impact. Bangladesh are left seeking for answers.
When Shakib decided to bat on a greenish track at Antigua, I welcomed it as that’s should be the ideal approach of a proactive skipper. A bit of grass on the track should not make the captain and his men afraid, but convey the home team the message, the visitors are ready to accept the challenge!
Well, the story was different!
Bangladesh were skittled out for 43! It took the West Indian pacers just one hour to script the fate of first Test. When the home team came out to bat, the movement on the deck faded and it was bound to happen. As because, with the sun baking down, the life on the deck would exist only in first two hours of the Day 1. Bangladesh were needed to occupy the crease for just two hours. But, the effect of playing too much of shorter-formats over the past few months was evident!
The Tigers lacked the courage to exploit their luck. As the day progressed, the track showed an uneven bounce and some turn for the spinners. But the damage was done earlier and Bangladesh failed to exhibit courage in the second innings.
Lady luck favoured Shakib yet again in Jamaica. He won the toss, but astonishingly, he decided to bowl first with a team, which included just one pacer and three spinners! Shakib and Bangladesh think tank got the chance of rediscovering their lost courage, but in my opinion, they wasted it. They are still not awake from the nightmares at Antigua and that ‘43’ loomed large in the minds of captain and others.
The track at Jamaica had grass, but like Antigua, it subsided after first session. The deck is hard underneath and would provide the cracks to aid the spinners as the day progresses. So, batting in the fourth innings would be tough. So, ideally, batting first would have been the best option, but when a team is afraid to face the challenge and does not know how to exploit good luck, deserve to take the toll on the hot and humid day at Jamaica.
Bangladesh bowling was mediocre including Shakib. They struggled to pitch the ball on the right length – more on the shorter side rather than pitching it up. Even the line was more on middle and leg. In the third session, the track started to exhibit the tendency of variable bounce more often. But still, the Bangladesh bowlers could not breach the defence of West Indian batters or pressurize them.
Yet again, Shakib seemed to be inflicted by self-doubts and when a captain is in such a situation, the team, automatically struggle to get their act together. They missed an important review when Kraigg Brathwaite was on 98, who later on, notched-up a defiant hundred. After Brathaite’s vigil, Shimron Hetmyer joined the party and attacked the Bangladeshi bowlers’ mediocre line-and-length.
It was the same bowlers who performed brilliantly when Heath Streak was around and under the guidance of Chandika Hathurusingha, they were a bunch of fearless boys. But sadly, how things have changed since the departure of these two men! The struggle of this team knows no bound.
The funda of Day 2 would be to restrict West Indies below 400, but if the Bangladesh captain and his bowlers don’t show the right temperament, it might prove to be another day to regret.