Mahmudullah, the Bangladesh vice-captain, has said Bangladesh may have a mental block when it comes to translating the things they do in practice to performances in matches. Bangladesh were bowled out for 135 by Pakistan on the first day of the first Test, in Chittagong, and then saw Pakistan move to 415 for 4 by the end of the second day. Mahmudullah said it was the batting that had been the most disappointing aspect of the performance so far.
"Everything goes right in practice but we couldn't apply it in the match," he said. "We can't understand during the match what we should do and what we shouldn't. So our shot selection went wrong. Hopefully we can do well in the second innings and bounce back in the match."
In seven Test innings this year, Bangladesh have gone past 300 just once. Mahmudullah said it was just a matter of one good innings, or one big score from an individual, that could turn around the batting form. "In the last two or three series we have not batted well. But in the previous one-and-a-half years we batted well consistently. So it's a matter of one innings. If we bat well, the confidence will come back.
"We are waiting for a good performance from someone. In the first innings Nasir [Hossain] played a good innings while Nazimuddin survived well. If someone plays a big innings we can get our confidence back through him."
Mahmudullah acknowledged that the poor turnout at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium was related to the team's poor performances of late. "As we are not playing well, spectators did not turn up. When we start playing good cricket, they will turn up again."
On the second day of the Test, Bangladesh were made to toil by Mohammad Hafeez, who scored 143, and Younis Khan, who stayed unbeaten on 96. Mahmudullah praised Pakistan's batting but also said there was no turn in the pitch and the Bangladesh batsmen could take heart from that.
"They were very compact and disciplined. The way they left the ball and the way they played shots, we can learn many things from them. As there is no turn and bite in the pitch and nothing for the seamers either, our plan was to be patient. We prevented them from batting fluently; our bowlers bowled well today."
Two out of Hafeez's four Test centuries have come against Bangladesh. He said he was happy to score against any opposition though Bangladesh were a stronger opposition in one-dayers than Tests.
"You want to perform against every opponent because every time you come out you always try to give your 100%. Bangladesh have done a great job in the last eight or nine years and have learned many things. I think they will keep working hard at it. At one-day level they perform much better than at Test level."
Hafeez was denied a bigger score by a poor umpiring decision: he was adjudged lbw though there was a thick inside edge. But Hafeez said it was a part of the game. "Sometimes you get a really bad decision, so I have no complaints. All you can do is work hard."
In a surprising move, Hafeez had been given the new ball on the first day, after Pakistan chose to field. He said he was comfortable with the new ball though did sometimes find it funny how much success he has had as a bowler in the past year. "I am always confident with the new ball and I bowl with it in the nets. I've been doing it for the last year and the confidence the management has shown in me that I can do this job at the highest level has been encouraging.
"Sometimes I laugh about my success with the ball because I am basically a batsman. My bowling just comes naturally because as a batsman I can understand the thinking of other batsmen."