Friday, January 24, 2020, 03:46:42 PM

Sunshine for Afghanistan, doomsday for Bangladesh

Saleque Sufi |
Update: 2019-09-10 11:45:15 AM
Sunshine for Afghanistan, doomsday for Bangladesh

OBHAI Only Test: Afghanistan Vs Bangladesh Played at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chottogram.

Appearing only on its 3rd ever test match against strong Bangladesh playing its 115th test, all guns blazing Afghanistan achieved overwhelming 224 runs victory. The tables were turned on the favorites and Afghans glorified themselves on the rain threatening last day at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chottogram. It became a doomsday of Bangladesh cricket as their flawed planning for trapping rookie Afghans on a spinning track boomeranged. The wicket doctored by BCB think tank rather suited the very strong spin studded Afghan bowling (vastly superior than Bangladesh attack). The spin heavy Bangladesh attack was no match at all.

Commitment, concentration and consistency of determined Afghanistan batsmen created comfortable situation for them from the day one. Bangladesh had 4 regular and 3 part time spinners. Still at stumps on day one Afghans reached impressive 271/5. Rahmat Shah (102) scored the first ever test century for Afghanistan. Before getting all out Afghans reached 342 all out on day two. Asghar Afghan contributed 92 and Rashid Khan 51.

Bangladesh unfortunately played to the hands of Afghans. On a wicket where lesser experiencedAfghan batsmen played with grit and patience Bangladesh looked panicked. By stumps on day two Bangladesh was reeling at 194/8 just avoiding following on . On day three after Bangladesh got all out for 205 conceding huge 137 runs lead, Afghans batted with passion and patience extending the lead to 374 runs. Weather forecast of day four and five were for rain and storm. Rain interrupted, yet after finishing the second innings at 260 with an overall lead of 397 Afghanistan could squeeze Bangladesh to 136/6. Liton, Mosaddeq, Mushfique, Mahmudullah, Momunul cracked under pressure. Shakib tinkered with batting order.

By stumps of day four Afghans were in the driving seat. Bangladesh was precariously placed in the second innings still needing batting out entire 5th day for salvaging a draw. The low pressure developed in the Bay of Bengal and gloomy overhead condition threatening to wash out the last day stood in between. Rains came, came heavily. But nature provided a narrow window of 18.3 maximum overs for dealing with. Bangladesh had captain Shakib and with him was Soumyademoted at number 8 from his opening slot. Bangladesh failed to survive. Shakib blamed himself for playing an irresponsible stroke. Afghans wrapped up Bangladesh innings in that opportunity as champion Afghan captain Rashid crushed the tail taking 6/49 and Bangladesh succumbing to a huge defeat of 224 runs. Rashid taking 11 /104 and scoring 51+24 =75 runs deservedly was adjudged player of the series. But very obliging Rashid dedicated that to veteran MohammdNabi retiring from test cricket for his commendable service to Afghan cricket. From now on Rashid will only play in ODI and T20 matches.

Afghanistan has so far played only three tests after getting test status. The first test they lost to very strong India. In the second they won against Ireland. But the win at Chottogram would definitely serve as tonic for the war ravaged Afghanistan.

Brief Scorecard:

Afghanistan 1st Innings 341 All Out (Rahmat Shah 102, AsgharAfghan 92, Rashid Khan 51, AfsarZazai 41, Ibrahim Zadran 21, Taijul Islam 4/116, NayeemHasan 2/43, Shakib Al Hasan 2/64) and 2nd Innings 260 All Out  (Ibrahim Zadran 87, Asghar Afghan 50, AfsarZazai 48*, Rashid Khan 24, Shakib Al Hasan 3/58, MehedyMiraj 2/35 NayeemHasan 2/61, Taijul Islam 2/86)

Bangladesh 1st Innings 205 All Out (MominulHaque 52, MosaddekHossain 48*, Liton K Das 33, Rashid Khan 5/55, Mohammad Nabi 3/56) and Bangladesh 2ndInnings  173 All Out (Shadman Islam 41, Shakib Al Hasan 44 ,Mushfiqur Rahim 23 , Rashid Khan 6/49, Zakir Khan 3/59 , Mohammad Nabi 1/ 38)


We are not sure how Bangladesh will address the situation now. Afghans played far more superior cricket and deservedly won the test. If rain ruined the match it would not have been natural justice. Bangladesh had many issues to brain storm now. Bangladesh had a mixed CWC2019 where among others batting was a major problem. Other than Shakib and Mushfique none were consistent at all. Openers including Tamimlookred very ordinary.  Instead of letting the coaching staff explaining to BCB management and making a through review of the performance Bangladesh made wholesale change of coaching staff. Shakib was let on leave .Mashrafee does no longer play tests or T20. Tamim went on self exile from cricket. The new coaching staff was hurriedly engaged and only a few days condition camp could be arranged. The world knows Afghanistan now possess some world class spinners (some of them are freak genius). Obviously they would be more comfortable against spin. For them a little bit of grass and exposing them to pace was more ideal. New coach fine tunedTaskin, Mustafiz and co. But for unknown reason selection of playing eleven was entrusted entirely upon Shakib . Spin only attack was chosen and a wicket was offered where Bangladesh spinners could hardly make any impression on determined Afghanistan batting. On the other hand far superior quality Afghan spinners mesmerized Bangladesh batsmen,

We must not blame the players. They were just not preapared for playing against quality spin on turning track. Afghan wrist spinners can turn on glass surface. For them a little bit of assistance can create havoc and they created havoc. Much vaunted Bangladesh batsmen fell like pack of cards.

We must make through post mortem of the humiliating defeat. We are not sure how Bangladesh would regroup in test cricket. They have to soon play against formidable India in India. Before that there is tri nation T20 series where they will find much stronger Afghanistan. Let us hope Bangladesh will bounce back from back to the wall.

No praise is enough for Afghans. In CWC 2019 they lost all matches. But they competed much better against India and Pakistan. They learned lessons, had intensive practice for Bangladesh series in India and then spent some time in Abu Dhabi. They had horses for the courses.


Bangladesh must also seriously think what return they are getting spending millions of dollars for the expensive foreign coaches? What are Directors of BCB responsible for Planning and Cricket Operation are delivering? Who actually select the squad and who plans for the wicket?

BDST: 1145 HRS, SEP 10, 2019




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