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December 21, 2011
The shots played by Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, Bangladesh's captain and vice-captain, were dreadful examples of leading from the front. The captain getting out with his team just a session away from safety was the bigger offender. Pakistan eventually beat the clock and the fading light, chasing down the target of 103 to win the series 2-0.
With bad light being so much of an issue in the second Test in Mirpur, it was likely to come into play as Bangladesh fought for a draw. Mushfiqur had done the hard work of keeping the two-hour morning session wicketless, with 86 runs in 29 overs. He added 107 for the sixth wicket with Nasir Hossain, who batted without trouble against a Pakistan attack that waned at times.
The pair surged along, knocking off Pakistan's 132-run lead, and both batsmen reached half-centuries. However, Abdur Rehman found a way through Nasir Hossain's defences after lunch, and it was all down to Mushfiqur and the tail. What the captain did next is another example of how Bangladesh implode all of a sudden. After batting nearly three hours, Mushfiqur skipped down the wicket and, in his effort to attack Rehman, ended up lofting one to Saeed Ajmal at mid-off to depart for 53.
"Of course I will take the blame. If I didn't get out, we could have batted 30 minutes more," Mushfiqur said after the defeat. "I feel guilty for my shot as I let my team down.
"I was set so I thought if I take a chance, I could score 20-30 more runs. My plan was correct but execution was wrong. They only had square-leg back. I tried it earlier but couldn't get to the ball."
The timing of Mushfiqur's dismissal was a sickening blow to Bangladesh's pursuit for safety. It was all over in 25 minutes.
On the fourth evening, Mushfiqur's deputy, Mahmudullah, had committed a similar blunder. After Tamim Iqbal and Shahriar Nafees suffered poor decisions, Mahmudullah's shot was hard to comprehend. He chased a wide delivery from Aizaz Cheema and top-edged to deep point to be dismissed for 32 off 50 balls.
"He [Mahmudullah] knows it well that when he got out, it was a bad time. He was having good partnerships with Nazimuddin and Nasir," Mushfiqur said. "We have to cut down on some shots in such situations.
"Ever since I started playing for Bangladesh, this has happened. This is the fact. We make mistakes in situations and we can't recover. If we had taken all the catches, they wouldn't have taken the 130-run lead. It would have been a different ball game if we took a 250-280 lead."
Mushfiqur, however, believed his team had improved with every innings during this Test series against Pakistan. "Overall batting-wise, we have gradually improved. Some of our batsmen could bat for a long time, which was our goal. We often get out after a quick 30-40. These are the positives.
"If we lose four, five wickets in a session, or they score 100 for 0, it becomes difficult to come back. Our bowlers created a lot of chances in this game, but we couldn't capture it."
Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in DhakaFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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