January 28, 2014
Choice of game
Bangladesh made 638 against Sri Lanka in their previous encounter and drew that Test, with Mushfiqur Rahim making a double-ton. So the anticipation ahead of this game was huge. My heart wants Bangladesh to win, although I knew it would mostly be Sri Lanka having the final say. Also, in the current context of the ICC debacle, Sri Lanka is our strange bedfellow: though we are playing against each other we are both united for the bigger picture.
Notwithstanding Mushfiqur and Shakib Al Hasan's role as anchors to resuscitate the innings with a partnership, and Sohag Gazi's late burst, it was undoubtedly Shaminda Eranga's day. He removed the openers, while Suranga Lakmal also chipped in with a supporting role.
Things I'd have changed
Tamim Iqbal perished to an ugly pull that resulted in a catch at fine leg. It was totally unnecessary. I wanted to change that, as well as go with a three-two pace-spin combination, with Marshall Ayub and/or Robiul Islam dropped. Instead I would have given chances to Abdur Razzak and Mahmudullah - the latter could have added more depth to batting as well.
But the thing I would definitely have added was a retractable dome over the stadium to regulate the scorching sun that was beating down on us. Yes, the cool breeze helped us survive from being toasted from time to time at the 20-Taka Eastern Stands, but I think it would a be few millions well spent on the infrastructure instead of on the players who are yet to show fight in Test cricket.
The interplay I enjoyed
Mushfiqur getting out of "duck zone" was the standout for me. He proceeded to score off his 20th delivery with a boundary. I wished Steven Lynch was around to fill me in on the most deliveries consumed by a batsman before getting off the mark. It turns out England wicketkeeper John Murray took 79 balls in Sydney in 1962-63 to open his account, and finished with 3 not out in 100 minutes. He was playing with an injured shoulder.
I am tempted to pick the six by Gazi but it was actually Tamim's dismissal. Since they don't show dismissals on the big screen we had to wait for couple of minutes while the umpire deliberated. Everyone was on their toes and hoping against hope that the flamboyant batsman would not be given out. We wondered anxiously whether the boundary fielder had touched the rope when Tamim pulled, but in the end umpire gave the dreaded signal.
At first, it was mostly Lakmal, but after that I couldn't recognise the fielders at our side of the boundary. During Sri Lanka's innings when Tamim raised his hand in acknowledgement to the crowd's support, the spectators gave him a huge cheer. It was very disappointing to note that our section was constantly mocking Sri Lanka's players and their names. That's definitely not part of cricket.
Shot of the day
My favourite shot was in the 30th over by Lakmal, and it came off Shakib's bat. He always plays exquisite drives, so the crowd was naturally impressed. It was effortless. He made contact and the ball knew where to find the gap and the boundary. It was poetic to watch live.
Tests v limited-overs
My cousin warned me not to go for the Test match, but I learned the hard way. It is way more fun to attend an ODI match than the first day of a Test. It drains the energy of even the most ardent aficionado. I think I even lost some weight.
Watching the first day of a Bangladesh Test match is akin to torture. The day was excruciatingly boring and painful, and I felt like dozing off many times. At times I even wanted to leave the match. But I didn't and I will be back on day three. That's us. Crazy Bangladeshi fans.
Marks out of ten
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