Eight victories in 99 matches, seven of those against lesser quality sides — before the historic triumph in their landmark 100th Test at P.Sara, this was Bangladesh’s Test record in a nutshell in past 17 years. Even the word ‘below par’ is not sufficient enough to describe this dismal show by the youngest Test nation.
Since their heroics in 2015 World Cup, in limited-overs cricket Bangladesh have become a force of recon with. But at the longer format, it was only the occasional sparks.
Test cricket is purely a team game. Individual brilliance can win occasional ODIs and T20s, but not Test matches and over the years this has been one of the major hindrances for Bangladesh in this format. They used to depend heavily on the Shakibs, Mushfiqurs or the Tamims.
But finally, it seems the Tigers are out of that zone. It was probably for the first time in last 17 years, Bangladesh boys dominated a Test match throughout the five days and put up a purely professional display. It seems finally they have announced their arrival in the Test arena.
P Sara Triumph — a team effort
The triumph at the P.Sara was completely a result of team effort. Yes, Shakib has chipped in with a crucial ton and timely breakthroughs, but apart from him, every other member of the playing eleven had contributed to the team’s cause.
On Day One, after losing the toss, Bangladesh were under pressure to bowl Sri Lanka out under a manageable total and the new ball burst by Mustafizur Rahman and young Subashis Roy, followed by the Mehedi Hasan Miraz’s strikes pegged the host back early in the game. They were four down at Lunch and despite Dinesh Chandimal’s fighting ton, only manage to 338 in the first innings.
While batting, three Bangladesh batters reached the half-century mark — Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur and the debutant Mosaddek Hossain. Especially, the way young Mosaddek had dealt with likes of old fox Rangana Herath and chinaman Lakshan Sandakan, was nothing less than sensational. He looks like one for the future.
During the first half of Sri Lanka’s second innings, it seemed the game was heading towards a boring draw until that 45-minute phase just after the post-lunch session on Day 4. The spells by Mustafizur and Shakib swung the pendulum towards the visitors. Sri Lanka lost 4 for 25 within a span of 53 balls in that period, which was the turning point of the game. Subashis and Taijul Islam also did a decent job to keep a check on opponent’s run scoring.
Finally chasing 191 on the fifth-day track against an experienced Sri Lankan attack, it was the Tamim-Sabbir pair, who put their hands up after losing two early wickets.
A new beginning
In his pre-match press conference, Mushfiqur spoke about how his team can start a new journey at the Test level from this 100th Test. The year 2017 is a landmark one for Bangladesh as they are playing more than 10 Tests and most importantly, the majority of these matches will be away assignments.
At P.Sara, Bangladesh looked like confident unit against a team which was undefeated at a home Test since September 2015. The confidence which Bangladesh have got after such a dominating show can boost their morals in future games.
We really hope this the spark which Bangladesh have shown in this 100th Tes, will be ignited in future.