Friday, September 22, 2023

Mirpur awaits a final thriller

Before the second Test in Dhaka, Mushfiqur Rahim and Misbah-ul Haq agreed on at least two points in their pre-match briefing at Mirpur on Tuesday. Firstly, the wicket at the Sher-e-Bangla has something for the bowlers unlike the first Test in Khulna, which had yielded 1515 runs in five days. So, a result in favour of either team is the most likely prospect in this Test.Secondly, there will be no clear favourites in this match, especially after the manner in which Bangladesh denied Pakistan in Khulna with a stunning comeback in the second innings.
For a team like Bangladesh, ranked far away from top teams at ninth in Test, and up against a side who has still a good credential in longer version, these things should always be considered as complement.
Bangladesh are now getting these complements not only from Pakistan, but from all over the world where cricket has some kind of followers.
When they thrashed Pakistan in the three-match one-day international series and followed that with their maiden Twenty20 international win against the opponents, the cricketing world has taken a note but it did not make at least anyone surprised.
They have done so in the past against New Zealand and after a boisterous show in the World Cup it was not completely unexpected against a new team that has just entered a transitional phase.
However, after a similarly dominating performance in Test, inarguably the toughest of three formats, and that against a full-strength Pakistan, respect is the only word reserved for them.
It has made them a genuine contender for the Test series, something they never won against a quality side despite they are now almost 15 years in the business.
When Pakistan have just a double century from Mohammad Hafeez to cheer for in Khulna, Bangladesh’s achievement are countless starting from Mominul Haque’s 80 that took his average next to Don Bradman, Taijul Islam’s 6-163, Tamim Iqbal’s maiden double century, Imrul Kayes’ career best 150 and 555-6 as a team in the second innings which all had culminated in a fascinating, come-from-behind draw.
‘Of course we have some achievements,’ Mushfiq said in his press conference. ‘I just hope to begin this Test confidently with all those positives,’ added the skipper with a great conviction.
Mushfiq is now left with no choice but to target a win, which will be fitting end of their series, already regarded as the best ever irrespective of the outcome of the second Test.
‘There is certainly just one goal,’ said the wicketkeeper-batsman. ‘This is the final Test of the series and we will do whatever we need to do to win the match. And everyone is working hard for it.
One just cannot rule out his words as rhetoric, especially when momentum is with them after all that happened in Khulna.
Pakistan must be haunted by their poor memories of one-dayers and Twenty20 when they will walk into the ground for the Test match despite it being a different format and they are appearing as different outfit.
Bangladesh are also a far different side than the ones took field in the limited over versions. But the core players in the side remained the same and some of them are in the form of their life, which will give them an edge.
Mushfiq is certain like many others in the world that a Bangladesh win in the Test cannot be now described as an upset considering their performance over the past six months when they remained unbeaten in 13 matches at home.
‘I don’t think it will be an upset,’ Mushfiq said, replying to the question of a Pakistani reporter. ‘There are lots of talking that we have been playing well only in ODIs, not in the Test, but we have shown that we are capable to do well in the Test too…I think boys are ready to fight for five days and after that hopefully we will grab a win and win the series.’

-With New Age input

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