West Indies 246/3 [KC Brathwaite 63, LR Johnson 66, DM Bravo 44*, S Chandrapaul 34, Mahmudullah Riad 1/25, Shafiul Islam 1/37. Taijul Islam 1/79]
Bangladesh had yet another day of lesson learning from West Indian Cricketers how to play test cricket and how to bat. West Indian batsmen including a debutant were teachers and we hope Bangladeshis batsmen as students could learn some lessons.
No hurry while batting in tests play according to merit of the bowling and adjust to the conditions. Mushfique again won the toss and presented West Indies batting first . This time he had three pacers his disposal but two of them were included only in this test. Bangladesh chose only one specialist opener. Wicket had some early assistance to pace bowling .But West Indian openers batting very sensibly laid a very solid foundation as Bangladesh bowling lack pace and penetration. At the end of the day 246/3 appeared to be more than enough for yet another massive first innings core and Bangladesh reeling another run mountain. Emerging West Indian brilliant batsman Daren Bravo and maestro Chadrapaul have dug in. Bangladesh again invited their miseries. We find no way how Bangladesh can come back in the match as bowling looks nothing more than friendly fire and did not cause any worry to the present pair at the wicket. A score of 450 or more by lunch time tomorrow will definitely set panic in Bangladesh camp.
During the match we had interesting FB chat involving Nazmul Aim Kiron from Bangladesh, Farhad Tito from Montreal, Atahar Ali Khan from St Lucia and myself from Melbourne. Kiron talked about Bangladesh team for the test. Atahar thought dropping Rubel was not a wise decision as he felt extra pace of Rubel could be useful. Gazi Ashraf in a Bangladesh TV channel rightly suggested for dropping struggling Nasir. We also thought Mithun Ali could play in place of Nasir .He could bat and could also keep wicket reliving Mushfique to concentrate more on batting and captaincy. Kiron thought retaining Shubhagato Hom could be wiser as bowled and batted reasonably well in the first test to be given another opportunity rather than retaining faith on struggling Nasir. We won’t go into details of each observation.
Our concern is what lessons Bangladesh learn in each match. Mushfique decision of putting West Indies into bat after winning the toss came under heavy criticism. That was one of the reason among others for Bangladesh to lose by 10 wickets as Bangladesh collapsed in the first innings from the sheer weight of huge West Indian first innings total and tired legs after two days in the field . Why after that bitter experience Bangladesh again choose to field? What Mushfique saw in St Lucia wicket? Is his bowling any better than first test? He has again 7 genuine batsmen at his disposal. Why his batsmen are not allowed to bat without the pressure of responding to a huge total and with the target of avoiding following on? Who guides Mushfique? Is it Manager Habibul Bashar Sumon? Is it Coach Chandika Haturasinghe? Is it Akram Khan? Or it is the combination of all? Atahar Ali Khan is one of the commentators. He stays around Bangladesh team think tank and we are sure they talk about team plan, match plan. From the standing at the end of the first day it appears West Indians are going to post a huge first innings total and leave it to their bowlers to have crack on demoralized decimated Bangladesh batting . Can Bangladesh stand firm with resolve and fight to save the match? If they cannot will team think tank along with captain share the blame of yet another controversial decision of opting to filed getting opportunity to bat first?
We do not think changing one or two players in Bangladesh team matters much at this stage unless that player is Sakib or Taskin or Mashrafee. But including Mithun Ali in the team could be justified for many reasons. Mushfique won’t be available for Asian Games cricket .Mithun will be there. He had a successful domestic season. He could give some respite to Mushfique. Moreover, he could bat without mental pressure .Nasir is going through a miserable patch. I found some logic in Kiron’s view of retaining Shubhagato as well. On his debut he definitely bowled and batted better than Nasir and few others.
We sincerely expect Bangladesh to bat well and try to earn at least a draw. We know it will be hoping against hope. But we feel the team think tank is not assessing the situation well and influencing wrong decisions. BCB team management must come under intensive scrutiny and must be made accountable if Bangladesh gets another white wash in test series. It can not go on and on like this for ever.