Tigers hoping against hope

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:05, Feb 10,2018

 
 

Bangladesh batsman Mehedi Hasan (R) plays a defensive shot on the second day of their second Test against Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Friday. — Sanaul Haque

Bangladesh were hoping for a massive turnaround with their batting in the second innings after putting them in a very difficult position at the end of second day’s play in the second Test against Sri Lanka on Friday.
The Tigers conceded a 112-run lead in the first innings after being bowled out for 110 runs, which gave Sri Lanka a complete control in the game.
The visitors reached 208-8 in their second innings at close to expand their lead to 312, leaving Bangladesh with an uphill task already.
Bangladesh’s highest successful run chase in the fourth innings of a game is 217-6 against an under-strength West Indies team in 2009, meaning the Tigers must rewrite their own history if they want to come-up as a winner in this Test.
No team could ever score more than 209 runs in a successful run chase in Mirpur, which also gave an indication of how difficult task Bangladesh were going to face in the remaining period of the game.
They have once scored 413 runs here in the fourth innings against Sri Lanka in 2008 but that came on a placid batting track unlike the dry pitch in the ongoing Test, where 28 wickets fell on the first two days.
Bangladesh spinner Mehedi Hasan, however, took a completely different view of the team’s prospect.
‘Anything can happen,’ Mehedi said after the second day’s play.
‘We are confident that we can chase the target, whatever the target is. Wicket is not unplayable or uneven. It has turn, but if batsmen can play well then I believe we can chase down the target.
‘Batsmen need to focus more in this wicket. If our batsman can play with more concentration then good result is possible,’ he added.
Bangladesh who were 56-4 overnight, failed to handle Sri Lankan bowlers as they lost their last five wickets adding only three runs on board despite nightwatchman Mehedi remained unbeaten on 38 runs.
The bowlers provided decent efforts in the second innings to restrict Sri Lanka to 200-8 but the batting collapse placed the Tigers, from where it was difficult to fight-back.
Mehedi added that such kind of collapse could happen in cricket but they needed to focus on the second innings to get a result in their favour.
‘Anything can happen in cricket. You can lose wickets for 0 or 1 or 2 runs. It can happen in first innings.
‘But if we can learn from our mistake from the first innings then I believe we can perform well in the second innings and can win the match. First innings is gone, now we are focusing on second innings.
‘We are confident. Particularly our batsmen are confident. Collapse can happen in first innings. I would consider it as an accident. But I believe we can chase the target,’ he added.
Mehedi claimed that their nearly 200-run chase against Sri Lanka at Colombo last year was giving them confidence to chase over 300 runs on home soil and they were really looking forward to that.
‘We won against Sri Lanka in their home soil chasing 200 odd runs [191 runs] in day five. That gives me confidence.
‘I believe if we can win a Test match chasing 200 in their home soil, then we can also win a Test match chasing 300-plus score in our home soil. And I also hope our senior players will step up and take the responsibility,’ he added.

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