'Three run-outs were fatal' - Ashraful
Mohammad Ashraful has termed as "fatal" three run-outs that marked another Bangladesh defeat inside three days. Mehrab Hossain jnr, Ashraful and Raqibul Hasan lost their wickets in dismal manner on day three of the Centurion Test, which South Africa won by an innings and 48 runs.
"I think it is a crime to get run out in Test cricket and when that happens to the No. 4, 5 and 6 in the batting order then you are bound to get bowled out cheaply," said Ashraful. "In my case and Mehrab's the calls were for two but direct hits made the difference.
"We had worked ourselves into a decent position after two days and I thought the batting would click in the second innings. Unfortunately it was a very poor effort by us when we batted and the three run-outs were fatal."
Having bowled well to leave South Africa 134 for 5 in their first innings on day two, Bangladesh let them recover and post 429. Ashraful said a bit of luck was required when playing against top teams . "We had two very good sessions on the second day and it could have been even better because we felt a couple of decisions could have gone our way and who knows what might have happened. That would have been an excellent situation for us but [Mark] Boucher and [Ashwell] Prince batted quite brilliantly."
Ashraful once again praised allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, who took six wickets in this Test to finish the series tied at the top with Makhaya Ntini on 11 wickets. "On an individual level Shakib has really come on as a spinner and on pace-friendly wickets taken two five-fors. Especially when you consider that only one spinner [Muttiah Muralitharan] has ever taken five wickets in an innings here before Shakib, you realise how significant his performance with the ball has been."
The only Bangladesh batsmen to cross 50 in two Tests, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal, also earned their captain's approval. "Mushie has been our most dependable batsman in the Test series and showed everyone how to play on wickets that have bounce and pace," said Ashraful. "Tamim got starts in every innings he batted and we are just waiting for a big innings from him. Junaid [Siddique] has also batted well in tough situations."
After what he termed as Bangladesh's toughest series in the last couple of years, Ashraful hoped to give Sri Lanka a run for their money at home next month. "We have really pushed the opposition in the last two home series and we came very close to beating South Africa and New Zealand in Tests," he said. "I am confident we will play good cricket against Sri Lanka and also Zimbabwe."