Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah is banking on the gains made by his batsmen during defeat in the first Test in Hamilton and put in a better effort against New Zealand in the second Test.
The Kiwis won the first Test by an innings and 52 runs as they overcame a brave fight from the tourists on day four in Hamilton.
After racking up their highest ever Test score of 715-6 declared in the first innings, victory looked a formality for the Black Caps, with Bangladesh entering the day 307 runs behind with six wickets remaining.
But Mahmudullah and Soumya Sarkar had other ideas, both scoring centuries in a partnership of 235 that raised the prospect of the hosts having to bat again before Trent Boult removed Sarkar for 149.
Bangladesh’s last five wickets then fell for 68 runs, with skipper Mahmudullah making 146 in a second innings total of 429 as Boult took 5-123.
That counter-attacking stand with Sarkar has given Mahmudullah hopes for the second match which begins in Wellington on Friday.
“We can carry forward some positives for the batsmen. Tamim (century and fifty) batted very well, Soumya was outstanding,” Mahmudullah was quoted as saying by Dhaka Tribune.
“We were focusing on not giving away wickets easily. They were bowling consistently well. They try to swing the new ball to induce the edges and when the cherry gets older they tend to bowl bouncers to intimidate the batsmen.”
Sarkar scored his maiden Test ton and it was a special moment for a batsman often accused of throwing his wicket away.
“I think the batting of Soumya at that stage was very important as he was batting fluently and taking some odd chances. When bowlers bowl well, bowl bouncers and yet you score boundaries and score four-five per over, the bowlers tend to become frustrated. Soumya was doing these things very well and our partnership was going along strongly,” the skipper added.
The Tigers were blanked 3-0 in the preceding ODI series and have their task cut out in the Hamilton Test which begins on Thursday with all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan out following a finger injury and Mushfiqur Rahim sidelined due to wrist issues.
However, Mahmudullah said it is a chance for youngsters to show what they are capable of.
“Mushfiqur is getting better. But perhaps we are not getting him in the first match,” Mahmudullah was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. “Along with Mushfiqur, Shakib Al Hasan also has been an integral part of our team. It is really tough to set our best combination without them. I hope those who are getting chances to replace them will perform well and grab those chances.”
Conditions are likely to suit fast bowlers but the Tigers are light in experience in the pace department as well. Abu Jayed has played three Tests, Khaled Ahmed one while Ebadat Hossain is yet to make his Test bow.
However, Mahmudullah remained upbeat, saying: “Rahi [Abu Jayed] is our premier fast bowler. He has played some matches and performed well. We have Ebadat Hossain, a new talent, who can bowl at a great pace. And we also have Mustafizur (Rahman). Everyone has ideas about his capabilities. Now our main focus is to execute our plan in the middle.
“Everyone knows the class of Mustafizur, and to be honest, 27 wickets in 12 Tests does not reflect his capabilities. He is eager to perform and we are looking forward to it.”
Sabbir Rahman thanked his Bangladesh team-mates and management for showing faith in him as he scored his maiden ODI century, albeit in a losing cause, against New Zealand in Dunedin.
Rahman hit 102 off 110 balls but couldn’t avoid a series whitewash as Bangladesh only managed 242 chasing 331 to lose the series 3-0.
On a personal front, it was a satisfying match for Rahman who is back in the national team after an earlier-than-expected comeback from the six month ban imposed on him in September 2018 by the Bangladesh board for allegedly threatening a fan on social media.
After the game, Rahman thanked the team and captain Mashrafe Mortaza for believing in him.
“I am happy to make my maiden ODI hundred, and more so due to the fact that it helped to repay the faith that all my team-mates and the officials had in me,” Sabbir was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
“I am thankful to Mashrafe bhai and to every single individual who had supported me through thick and thin. Their moral support was extremely helpful.”
Sabbir dedicated his century to his parents for giving him strength during his off-field issues.
“I dedicate my century to my father and mother as they were beside me all through when I was passing through some torrid time due to all the things that had happened during the last couple of months,” he added.