“If a team can’t survive one hour then surely their credibility in the 5-day format comes under the scanner”
Afghanistan were playing their third Test against a nation that has acquired enough experience in the last 19 years in this topsy-turvy world of Test cricket. The records are not satisfactory for Bangladesh in the last 19 years, but since the arrival of Chandika Hathurusingha, the Test record of the Tigers started to get the right direction and under Steve Rhodes, things were still not a mess. Well, it seems, Bangladesh have returned to the shoddy past.
Okay, just wait – I am bored of dishing out the past again and again and searching a way to defend Bangladesh, which really does not help at all – let me be loud and clear – in Test cricket, Bangladesh have not learned anything, or it might be appropriate to state that, the current players in the team are not at all interested to play the longer version of the game. At least their body language says it all.
Whereas they completely forget, because of this Test status, they have gained the access to play against quality sides – if anytime, the International Cricket Council decides to impose the Two-Tier system in Test cricket, Bangladesh would be the sufferer and they would lose their foot on the ground they are standing right now.
The rain-affected Test match was going nowhere until the umpires decided to give the visitors 18.3 overs to shine while Bangladesh just needed to survive one hour, which should not be a tough ask for a team that has recently peaked in the 5-day format.
In the final hours of the Test match, Afghanistan scripted glory, while Bangladesh ended up with eggs on their face.
Zahir Khan had Shakib Al Hasan caught behind off the first ball in the final session after they made a second restart. Shakib tried an unnecessary cut shot against wide delivery whereas what the skipper needed was to survive.
Rashid Khan picked up his fourth wicket by trapping Mehidy Hasan lbw – against a delivery that required quick reactions and astute footwork – before completing his ten-wicket haul with the wicket of Taijul Islam.
Taijul’s wicket made Rashid the first cricketer to take a 10-wicket haul and score a fifty on his captaincy debut. Overall, he is the third captain to do the double, following Imran Khan and Alan Border.
Rashid took the final wicket to fall, Sarkar caught at short leg.
While Afghanistan celebrated by running around the ground and then gave some of the Afghans who turned up, a victory lap, the home team was left pondering what went wrong regarding this 224-run thrashing against a nation who are new-bees in the Test arena.
The Afghans have always been a fascinating side to watch and their victory has been the result of appropriate planning and hard work.
In the period since the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) handed the captaincy to Rashid Khan, and when Phil Simmons left as the head coach, they put Andy Moles, the chief selector, in his place temporarily.
Afghanistan have shown over the years that they tend to make the best of whatever resources they have. In fact, their ability to compete despite limited resources is what motivates them to punch beyond their weight.
Back in July, the Afghanistan A team toured Bangladesh and it proved to be a big learning curve.
They had dominated that series, winning the unofficial Test series 1-0, and then rain deprived them of the one-day series triumph, with Bangladesh A salvaging a 2-2 draw in the five-match series.
They exploited the experience at Chattogram, meanwhile, Bangladesh kept on surprising every day.
From their decision to go with an all-spin attack and deciding to field first to melting under pressure in a lacklustre fashion on the final day – deserves clarification from the think tank of Bangladesh cricket.
The blame game, time and again have never helped any teams in Test cricket.
And, most importantly, what does Bangladesh wish to do?
Do they wish to play Test cricket or not?
If a team can’t survive one hour then surely their credibility in the 5-day format comes under the scanner.