Tuesday, 25 January, 2022

Tigers to face Pakistan in 2nd Test for elusive victory

Tigers to face Pakistan in 2nd Test for elusive victory

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Emboldened by the return of ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh are keen to make a strong comeback when they take on visiting Pakistan in the second and series ending Test tomorrow (Saturday) at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

The match starts at 10 am.

Shakib missed the entire T20 series and the first Test due to the hamstring injury he sustained during Bangladesh's Twenty20 World Cup campaign. Bangladesh lost all of those matches in absence of him.

If Pakistan also wins this Test, they would inflict series whitewash on Bangladesh.

The star all-rounder was on his way to make a comeback in the first Test, only to be sidelined after failing to pass the fitness test. Bangladesh were thumped by eight wickets in the first Test despite taking a 44-run lead.

Liton Das struck 114, his maiden Test century and Mushfiqur Rahim scored 91 and those batting performances were complemented by left-arm spinner Taijul Islam's seven for 116. But their individual performances mattered little at the end as Pakistan roared back in the second innings to win the game at a comprehensive margin finally.

Despite taking the lead, Bangladesh seemed to have a lack of confidence to win the game. The home side's batting and bowling indeed came unstuck apart from Mushfiqur, Liton and Taijul and here where Shakib's absence was felt vigorously.

There was a sense of belief that if Shakib had been there, he could spread the confidence amongst the players and also could play around them to make their individual performances worthy.

But what ailed Bangladesh, was their top order batters' performance.

Bangladesh were reduced to 49-4 in the first innings and 39-4 in the second innings, which played a key role in Bangladesh's defeat from an advantageous position, according to skipper Mominul Haque, who is also the part of the top order.

He said if Bangladesh couldn't make the things right, there is no way that they could make a comeback in the Test series.

However, middle order batter Yasir Ali Chowdhury, who showed a glimpse of his talent before being hit by a short pitch delivery of Shaheen Shah Afirid in the first Test and later was substituted by Nurul Hasan Sohan said they are keen to rectify the mistakes they had done for an improved performance in the second Test.

"We don't know what the wicket will be like in the second Test," Yasir said. "All what we have to do is to play by watching the behavior of the wicket. And the main thing is that we have to hold on to the process that we have. You have to keep everything normal and bat the way the wicket demands."

Apart from Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh will also get the service of Taskin Ahmed, whose raw pace was utterly missed in the docile pitch in Chattogram, as Mominul Haque suggested.

Taskin was left out from the first Test squad at the eleventh hour after sustaining a right hand injury during the third T20 against Pakistan.

The return of Shakib and Taskin meant, Bangladesh would have to bring up several changes in their squad. Opener Saif Hassan, who failed in both innings, was ruled out from the squad due to his illness.

Bangladesh had already called up T20 specialist Naim Sheikh in the squad and there is also uncapped Mahmudul Hasan Joy who could open the innings. So Bangladesh basically would have to bring at least three changes for the second and final Test.

But whatever it is, Bangladesh's only target is to end the losing streak against Pakistan for an elusive victory in this format.

Bangladesh so far played 11 Tests against Pakistan and lost all but one, which they were able to draw in 2015. The Tigers so far played 122 Tests, won just 14 and lost a staggering number of 92 Tests of which 43 defeats was by innings margin. The rest of 16 Tests were drawn.

Bangladesh squad: Mominul Haque (Captain), Shadman Islam, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Litton Kumer Das, Yasir Ali Rabbi, Nurul Hasan Sohan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain Chowdhury, Abu Jayed Chowdhury Rahi, Nayeem Hasan, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Rejaur Rahman Raja, Khaled Ahmed, Shohidul Islam, Naim Sheikh.