Sunday, June 16, 2024

‘Result still possible’

The second Test match between Bangladesh and New Zealand could still have a result if the next three days are not interrupted by rain, said all-rounder Sakib al Hasan on Tuesday.
The decider of the two-match Test series was again deprived of a full day’s play after rain halted the second day at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium with New Zealand struggling at 107-3 after restricting the hosts to 282 runs.
‘I feel that if there are three days of play there will be a result in this match,’ Sakib said at the press briefing after play was stopped 26 minutes before the scheduled tea-break and eventually called off.
‘The way the match is progressing suggests that there will be a result. It is difficult to say who will come out as the winner as both the teams have one innings left and [New Zealand’s] half-innings is still left,’ said Sakib.
‘The wicket will get more difficult with each passing day. As the curator suggested, and what I have learnt, there will be even bigger turn from day three.
‘If that happens it would be difficult for both the teams to score runs, the game will also have a fast progression and there is a possibility of a result,’ he said.
However, Sakib was not yet sure whether the spinners could extract any advantage from the wicket as only two days of the Test match had been completed.
‘It is very difficult to tell anything regarding the wicket because we have only completed day two. Even if it is a spinning track, normally it starts helping the spinners from the last session of day three.’
’Everyday there was rain and we even had rain yesterday, but that did not hamper anything, like the ball getting wet or things of that sort. If there is no rain tomorrow there won’t be any problem,’ he added.
Sakib emphasised the importance of picking up the wickets of the two batsmen remaining at the crease early as he believes that they have the ability to change the course of the game.
Vice-captain Kane Williamson was on 28 runs and the experienced Ross Taylor on 37 when the game was called off by the umpires after incessant rain hit the ground just 33.3 overs into the New Zealand innings.
‘We need to pick up the two wickets at the crease now because they are the most important,’ said Sakib.
‘Even after that there will be other batsmen, but these two wickets are vital, more so because one of them is the vice-captain, while the other one is a senior player.’
‘If we can pick up two wickets everything is possible. Even bundling them out under 200 is possible.’
‘Realistically speaking, if we can restrict them to 300, which I feel is possible, we will have an even match,’ he added.
Sakib defended his batsmen despite failing to contribute heavily after the hosts lost their last five wickets in the first session on Tuesday, adding only 54 runs to their overnight score of 228-5.
‘There were not too many batsmen. There were only Nasir [Hossain] and Mushfiqur [Rahim], and after [Mushfiq] got out Nasir followed him soon. The lower order was exposed so we could not score a lot of runs,’ said Sakib.
‘From the outside I don’t think there was much of a problem. I think on this wicket 300 or 350 is a very good score.’
‘I don’t think there was a drastic change in the wicket. As I said, we only had two batsmen. They have lost two wickets themselves [New Zealand are actually three wickets down] and the session was also long, probably two and a half hours,’ he added.
Sakib was happy with his own bowling but denied that he was relieved to have picked up three wickets and said that the team needs to contribute as a whole if Bangladesh aim to win the Test match.
‘It didn’t occur to me that I would be relieved if I picked up wickets and wouldn’t be relieved if I didn’t pick up wickets. I am happy because I was performing well,’ he said.
‘But it is important that everyone on the team contributes. It is very important. If [Sohag] Gazi and [Abdur] Razzak bhai, or even the pace bowlers, can pick up one or two early wickets it would be a plus point,’ he added.
Sakib’s three-wicket haul makes him Bangladesh’s most successful Test bowler at home, leapfrogging Mohammad Rafique’s 66 wickets. Sakib took his total to 68 wickets when he dismissed New Zealand captain Brendan McCullum for his third wicket.

-With New Age input

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