Mushfiqur thrilled with Bangladesh effort
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim has called the team's first-ever drawn Test match against Sri Lanka "a huge achievement". He said the draw in Galle was the team's first major step towards becoming consistent in Tests.
"We had never even taken the lead against Sri Lanka in the past," Mushfiqur said. "From this performance, we want to continue being consistent in the second Test. That's how it should be in Test cricket."
Bangladesh posted 638 - their highest Test score - and batted 196 overs, the longest they have managed since getting Test status in 2000. Sri Lanka has been their most frequent Test opponents but they have beaten Bangladesh in all 12 games in the past, often by large margins. Mushfiqur said that their track record against the hosts spurred his side during this Test.
"Our past record against Sri Lanka definitely motivated us. For instance, they have scored 19 or 20 centuries [18 centuries] against us. We stressed on the fact that this is a big opportunity for us. We thought this is a chance for us to make them work hard on the field as we batted on and on.
"The team that often keeps you in the field for days that beat you regularly, we wanted to give it back to them. I think they are shocked, because they couldn't imagine we would play well."
The captain pointed out the different players who had made contributions, mostly with the bat, an end result that is relatively new to him in Tests. "We need a pen and paper to write down the positives in this Test. We had the team's highest score, Ashraful and my highest scores, Mominul's debut fifty, Nasir's maiden 100. I think this was also the highest score in Galle."
Mushfiqur gave a reminder of the circumstances that surrounded his team ahead of the tour and the Test match. Bangladesh has been riddled with injuries to major players and off-field issues that have been brewing since the inception of the BPL last year. In addition, there was a senior player making a comeback in the Test team.
"It was a big game with a lot of pressure on us. We were without two of our senior players. Ashraful bhai came into the side quite late and there was pressure on him to perform.
"I think if we can approach matches and for our batsmen to select which balls to hit and not to hit, we can be a lot more consistent in the future," he said.
He played down the immediate influence of financial benefit which the BCB has recently included in the players' contract for drawn Tests. But Mushfiqur said it was a good move which was in line with the cricketers' belief. The team will now get an extra Tk 100,000 ($1250) for drawing the Galle Test apart from their match fees which has also been recently increased.
"It was always a challenge for us to be competitive over five days. I think the board also thought along these lines that we should get extra remunerations if we can draw a game. I think it is very good, and we have done well."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent