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March 20, 2013
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim has made an appeal for more Tests for his side after they were much-improved competitors in the two-Test series in Sri Lanka. Bangladesh lost the series 0-1 but had positive results, forcing a draw in Galle, their first in this country.
The visitors lost the second Test in Colombo, but there were periods at the Premadasa when they were on par with Sri Lanka. The performance prompted Mushfiqur to ask for more chances to play Tests.
"It doesn't matter if we do well or not, we will have more opportunity if we get more Tests to play," Mushfiqur said. "Those who in authority, I would ask them to give us more Tests. We can show that we can play good, consistent Test cricket.
"It is up to the cricket board whether we play a three-Test series, but we must play eight to ten Tests in a year. You can play as many ODIs and T20s you want, but Test cricket is the ultimate. You have periods of long struggle in Test cricket, it builds character and confidence."
Bangladesh have only played two three-match series since gaining Test status in 2000, and the last one was nearly six years ago in Sri Lanka. Bangladesh played just two Tests in 2012, and are scheduled to play four more this year.
Questions remain, however, over the Bangladesh players' durability in Test cricket. They have shown, in these two matches in Sri Lanka, the ability to dominate a session, or even a day, but to string together consistently impressive performances over several days is still a challenge.
"We are working on this but we haven't reached a stage where we can play 10 days of consistent cricket out of 14-15 days," Mushfiqur said. "The focus that is required to face deliveries pitching on the same spot requires mental and technical skills.
"They bowl maidens, build the pressure on our batsmen. When they are batting, they are aware a bad ball is around the corner, so they wait and give enough respect to the good ball. But we have to play a lot more than just the two or four [Tests] per year."
Mushfiqur said the bowling attack needed to develop, but had to be given time. Bangladesh's highest wicket-taker in the series, Sohag Gazi, has completed only four Test matches, and without Shakib Al Hasan the attack has only shown flashes of potential.
"We made only 240 [in Colombo] against a team like Sri Lanka, so that wasn't good enough. We don't have a bowling attack that can bowl them out for 200. [Kumar] Sangakkara and [Dinesh] Chandimal played really well, they didn't give us a chance," Mushfiqur said. "In the second innings, some of us were set but we got out. The spinners should have bowled better on this wicket, which Rangana Herath showed by bowling in one spot."
Bangladesh's next Tests are against Zimbabwe in April, but they have an ODI series and Twenty20 left to play against Sri Lanka over the next 11 days.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondentFeeds: Mohammad Isam
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