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April 14, 2006
"A lot of our bowlers felt the pinch on the first day," said Ponting. "But you saw that how quickly we learnt from our mistakes and that is the strength of this team. We were behind in the match but our team manages to get ourselves out of trouble more times than other teams in the world.
"This game was a prime example of that and at the end of the match; we did just enough to win the Test match. We turned a poor bowling performance in the first innings to a great one in the second innings."
Bashar expressed happiness with the performance and believed that Bangladesh will soon correct their tendency to falter in the second innings of a match. "I am sure that nobody expected before the start of the series that a Test match can finish in such a way," he said. "I must say it was a moral victory for us. Although we didn't win, we pushed them to the last day and it was a good Test match for us in all ways. We dominated two days of play and we took more out of it although in the end they won.
"Our habit of failing in the second innings after a good showing in the first innings is going to go away pretty soon. The more we create such situations, the better we will fare. We get situations like this after long gaps. But nowadays we are creating such situations. Maybe it will take a little more time now for us to get a good second innings score to push the teams."
Both captains took time out to praise the other team. Ponting conceded that Bangladesh played better than what he expected of them. "We were really surprised by their first day performance because 355 runs in a day was simply outstanding. Actually Bangladesh had the better of play in the first two days. [Shahriar] Nafees played a sensational knock and it was a very good Test match hundred. They played excellent cricket in the match and they proved that they are an improving side and they can trouble any team in the world. I think Bangladesh can take inspiration from the performance of this Test."
Bashar believed Ponting's batting was the turning point. "Credit goes to Australia for coming back so strongly. Maybe this is why they are the best team in the world. Even though we did badly in the second innings, I would say that they did equally good. Ricky's batting was the turning point. He took the game away from us."
He came to the defence of Mashrafe Mortaza who dropped a difficult chance off Ponting in the closing stages. "If he had taken it we could have seen a different situation, Bashar said. "But I must say he tried hard and you all know that he is a whole-hearted cricketer. Mashrafee is also very disappointed. Everyone is contributing in this team and that is very important. But we needed to convert half-chances to win Test matches."
Ponting sounded out a warning ahead of the second and the final Test starting on April 16 in Chittagong. "If we are well-prepared for the next Test, they won't be able to make this sort of a total against us anymore. We want to be physically and mentally right to face it in Chittagong."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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