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Alagappan Muthu in Mirpur
June 19, 2014
The pitch in Mirpur was something of a revelation for Suresh Raina, the India captain. The monsoons in Bangladesh had been delayed, but their impact led to the final match becoming the first rained out at Shere Bangla Stadium. Under overcast conditions and a deck that did not lack in moisture, lateral movement was almost perennially available and batsmen had to cope with some testing bounce as well.
"Especially in the subcontinent, I haven't seen a wicket do this much in the last 10 years," Raina said. "It was good for the team, for the batsmen to adapt to these conditions and take it to England and Australia for the Tests and the World Cup. Bangladesh are also going to West Indies. So I think it was a good battle between bat and ball and winning the series was important."
The average score in an ODI at Mirpur has been 240, but over the course of the last two ODIs, India had been bundled out for 105 and were on 119 for 9 when the rain ended things today. Bangladesh succumbed for 58 on Tuesday. There is room for an argument that both teams had been caught unawares by the amount of help that was on offer. Raina believed conditions like these made batsmen work harder and the bowlers were also allowed to come into their own.
"Whenever we play in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, I think the batsmen always have the upper hand. Here, rain was coming in and bowlers had a new ball at both ends. So you had to control your shots and decide when to attack and when not to. Still I think, both sides played really well, especially India.
"Everyone stepped up to the plate. Most importantly all the bowlers had a fantastic tour. Especially Stuart Binny and Mohit Sharma . I think the two debutants, Parvez and Akshar also did really well. When you come to any tour, one thing that comes to your mind is that you need to win all the games. The series was tough, the wicket was doing something. Very happy with the boys, they did a fantastic job."
Four of the squad that visited Bangladesh - Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny and Wriddhiman Saha - would also feature for the tour to England. The lessons learned from facing probing seam bowling in favourable conditions could help them.
"A lot of young players have come out of one and a half months of IPL. They were playing their first tour in Bangladesh when the wicket was doing something. We have learned how to tackle seaming conditions and a few players from our side are going to England so they could utilise these conditions to prepare for the Tests."
When asked how India could handle tougher conditions outside the subcontinent, Raina pointed out that long-format cricket would prompt a change in mindset and the pitches for those matches would be truer, which would help the batsmen. "That wicket is going to be more batting-friendly. Bounce will be there, but at the same time you can play your shots. Here I think the wicket was really doing a lot."
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