'We put ourselves under pressure' - Imrul
Imrul Kayes believes Bangladesh will need a "bigger comeback" than the one they made in Khulna if they are to save the second Test against Pakistan. Imrul made a rapid 32 after the visitors declared on 557 for 7 at the stroke of tea on the second day, but failed to build on it, as Bangladesh slumped to 107 for 5.
"As a top order we failed in this innings but we still have the second innings," Imrul said. "We came into a good position after being on the back-foot in the last match. If we can get set in the second innings, it will be an even bigger comeback.
"Two of us took the team to a good position in the last match, from a similar position. We have Soumya Sarkar to come and Shakib Al Hasan still at the crease. I think if we have set batsmen in the middle, like Shakib is a big player. If he and Soumya can put together a good partnership, we can reach a good position."
Earlier this week, in the first Test in Khulna, Bangladesh came back from a 296-run first-innings deficit to post 555 for 6 by batting out the last five sessions of the game comfortably. Apart from helping Bangladesh to their highest ever second-innings score, Imrul and Tamim added 312 runs for the opening partnership, breaking a 55-year old record for the highest first-wicket stand in the second innings of a Test.
Imrul, having scored 150 in Khulna after keeping wickets for 120 overs, has reasons to be confident of another such comeback. But in Dhaka, the hosts are currently still 450 runs adrift of Pakistan, and 250 runs short of the follow-on mark with three days remaining in the game.
Imrul said Bangladesh were looking to reach at least 358 before going any further. He felt that the discipline of Pakistan's attack, who bowled slightly wide of the wicket, lured the Bangladesh batsmen into playing shots and giving away their wickets.
"Our first target will be to avoid the follow-on and take it from there. They bowled well and with discipline. The match situation would have been different had it not been the umpire's call in Tamim's dismissal. But we can't do anything about what has happened. We just have to look forward.
"We were not batting in a hurry. We played our shots as they were bowling away from the body. It wasn't that there was a lot of good balls, there were some. It is nothing more than that. They bowled well in Khulna. They bowled well here too but we got out and put ourselves under pressure. The batsmen try to take responsibility, but it doesn't always come off."
The questions in the press conference on Thursday, however, hovered back to the start of the Test match and Mushfiqur Rahim's decision to bowl first with just two seamers. Imrul felt that despite the bad luck associated with Shahadat Hossain's injury, Soumya Sarkar did a decent role as the second fast bowler. He added that any captain will end up using a lot of bowlers if one of his specialists goes missing from the attack.
"We have an experienced captain who understands the game well. We have coaches and a team management. There was something in the wicket on the first day. It was our bad luck that (Shahadat Hossain) Rajib got injured. We were playing with three pace bowlers. We had two catches taken which were eventually no-balls. If we could have properly used the conditions, they wouldn't have scored so many runs.
"The team selection is made with a plan in mind. A captain is in trouble if one of his bowlers can't bowl any more from such an early stage. He has to make up the bowling attack in that injured bowler's place. If our top bowlers had done a better job, there wouldn't have been any need of the others. Soumya did his job as a bowler. He would have been the third seamer had Shahadat been able to bowl. I think the decision (to pick two front-line seamers) was taken to extend the batting line-up."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84