‘We were never in control’
One could be tempted to take positives despite Bangladesh crashing to a convincing eight-wicket defeat in the first Test against Pakistan inside the first session of the final day to start the second cycle of the ICC World Test Championship with a defeat.
Those thoughts could arise from the individual heroics at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram such as a maiden Test century from Liton Das in the first innings, which he followed up with a half-century in the second innings. Mushfiqur Rahim also scored 91 runs and together the duo put on a 206-run stand for the fifth-wicket in the first innings. Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam single-handedly spun out Pakistan with a seven-wicket haul, which gave the hosts a crucial 44-run lead, and debutant Yasir Ali impressed before suffering a concussion after scoring 36 runs in the second innings.
However, skipper Mominul Haque's realisation was perhaps the most positive as he bemoaned the fact that individual performances have rarely ever been enough to win Bangladesh matches.
"I have been noticing since taking up captaincy that individual performances have not helped us win games in any format. We don't have the kind of performer who can single-handedly win matches for us so we have to perform as a unit. If we could perform collectively… suppose after Taijul picked up seven wickets, if someone else bagged two or three in the second innings and gave him support or if the batters had played well in the second innings, that might have helped us. You can't get success as a team by only relying on individual heroics. When we play collectively, as a unit, we get favourable results," Mominul said.
Even after the third day, it seemed Bangladesh were in control with their 44-run first-innings lead as they came out for their second essay. But, as in the first innings when the hosts were reduced to 49 for four, Bangladesh's top order failed and the hosts were reduced to 25 for 4.
"You guys might think positively, but I feel we were never in control. It was because Mushfiqur and Liton batted well that we got some momentum and then again from Taijul picking up those seven wickets. Courtesy of these individual performances, we were able to remain in the game till the fourth day. We might have gotten control if we were able to put up a partnership in the second innings. So I don't think we were in control," a disappointed Mominul added.
Mominul also said that the Tigers needed to work on their mental fitness and admitted that they could hardly change their technique overnight, in time for the second and final Test starting in Mirpur on December 4.
The 30-year-old also praised the nature of the pitch at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, terming it flat and blaming the top order, including himself, for the failure.
"I should have batted with more responsibility. If you can score a big knock at number four, there is always a good chance to post a better total. If you lose four wickets inside the first ten overs in any format, it won't matter if you add a 200 or 300-run partnership. It won't help you post a big total. It's difficult to bowl after scoring 330 runs in the first innings on a flat wicket. It was because of Taijul's brilliance that we managed to make the comeback," he added.