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“The price of greatness is responsibility”

Winston Churchill

Shakib Al Hasan is out due to a finger injury.

Mushfiqur Rahim ruled out from first Test due to wrist trouble.

No Mustafizur Rahman in the side as well to lead the inexperienced bowling attack.

Well, the above scenarios are not encouraging at all. But keeping in mind the way Sri Lanka fought in South Africa without some of their key players, the same spirit was expected from Tigers, who have shrugged off the tag of bashing-boys-of-world-cricket long ago.

“How we are performing in overseas conditions is always a challenge for us. Everyone doubts whether we can win an overseas Test or not,” he said. “But I can assure you, as a captain and on players’ behalf, we are not thinking on that line. We will take inspiration from the recent past and motivate ourselves. We want to play according to our strengths, the way they [New Zealand] are performing”.

“We know how the conditions are, and we also have ideas about their bowlers. But how we are going to execute our plans depends on us. We know the conditions won’t be favourable and there will be swing all around. We need to be mentally strong to perform in such conditions”.

Also read: Sabbir Rahman repays the faith

That’s what the stand-in captain of Bangladesh said before the start of first Test at Hamilton. Despite the setbacks, Mahmudullah’s intent was positive and his fellow colleague Tamim Iqbal supported the intent of his captain on a sun-kissed day. His marvellous Test ton should have galvanized the mindset of others, but in reality, it failed to inject inspiration and responsibility.

How dominant Tamim had been during his swashbuckling ton one could get an idea about his onslaught against Trent Boult in thirteenth over of the day.

It was an ideal exhibition of how to disturb the line-and-length of a quality swing bowler. Boult pitched the first ball of the over up at which Tamim punched it through the extra-cover by getting closer to the line of the delivery to diminish whatever movement was available. It had created doubts in the mind of Boult, whose following deliveries either pitched on a leg-stump line or overpitched and Tamim leaked boundaries from those to script a 17-run over.

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Neither the cheeky Tim Southee was spared. Even though he bowled with a sharp pace and beat Tamim with some zippers, but the southpaw from Bangladesh responded with a crispy stroke played in front of square. Boundaries came thick and fast from the bat of Tamim and it seemed, Bangladesh were not at all worried by the testing conditions of New Zealand and absence of key players.

It seems that Tamim had slightly changed his technique while facing Boult and Southee. Especially, his bat-swing was quicker than previous matches. It helped him to get counter the movement off the pitch and in the air. He had been the only batsmen who got closer to the line of pace bowlers better than rest of top and middle order batsmen. Of course no need to mention about his authority over back foot stroke-play.

Sadly, rest of the Bangladesh batsmen failed to support the spirited display of Tamim.

Especially, the experienced campaigners.

As swing failed to stop the flow of runs, Kane Williamson decided to strike gold by unleashing a barrage of short-pitch kinds of stuff – enters Neil Wagner, who continued to pitch the ball short, targeting the ribcage, at a pace to unsettle the batsmen. It required patience to occupy the crease rather than showing the technique of highest quality. In the history of Test cricket, patience has helped to overcome technical shortcomings on many occasions.

On Day 1, in the afternoon session, Bangladesh simply failed to remain patient against Wagner’s barrage of short-pitch deliveries. The reason for pointing towards patience of batsmen is that most of the dismissals resulted either due to poor shot selection or a lacklustre attitude rather than brilliant bowling.

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Mominul Haque tickled one harmless Wagner-short-ball down the leg side to wicketkeeper and threw away his wicket. Such a lazy approach is never expected from someone like Mominul, who averages 44.08 from 33 Test matches, while the Bangladesh captain also cannot escape criticism for executing a needless stroke against another benign short-ball from Wagner.

Obviously, after Tamim, Bangladesh looked forward to Mahmudullah and Mominul, who should have guided the rest to weather the storm. But as soon as Tamim departed, a collapse was inevitable. Courtesy of some irresponsible shot selection from experienced batsmen.

Had the senior batsmen exhibited some resolve under pressure, Bangladesh’s day could have been as bright as the sunshine at Hamilton.

“Quality is everyone’s responsibility”

F. Edwards Deming

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