After being crushed by an innings and 129 runs in the first Test, Bangladesh have shown more fight during the first two days of the second Test against South Africa in Centurion. Batting first, they posted 250, and Shakib Al Hasan's three-wicket burst had South Africa in a hole before centuries from Ashwell Prince and Mark Boucher rescued the hosts.
South Africa may have been let off the hook, but Shakib said it was not for want of effort. "We tried our best, but they saw off the pressure period, and then went on the attack," he told Tigercricket.com. "You have got to remember that this is only the day-two pitch, and still very good for batting."
The Centurion pitch was expected to favour the quick bowlers, but it was left-arm spinner Shakib who was the best bowler on the second day. "I had a feeling yesterday that the wicket would turn. But the important thing for me is the length and line I bowl," he said. "I think the reason I am getting all these wickets is because I am hitting the right spot continuously." He now has 18 wickets in his last six innings, after having managed three wickets in his first six Tests.
Another in-form Bangladesh player is wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, whose brisk 65 pushed the visitors to a respectable total on the first day. Four of his five highest Test scores have come over the last two months. Mushfiqur attributes that to a changed mindset, and his discipline during net sessions.
"In the past I used to think too much about matters not directly related to my game, like who I was going to face or what the wicket would be like," he said. "I also could not stop thinking about the disappointment any failure would bring to my close ones because I live in a joint family."
After being dropped from the national side earlier this year, Mushfiqur stopped putting pressure on himself. "I focused only on trying to do my job to the best of my ability. If I have given it my best and still failed then so be it, and I wasn't going to loose sleep over it."
Mushfiqur also said he now took his training sessions more seriously. "I have trained exactly like I would play in a match. I tried not to get out in the nets, and only hit the bad balls when I got them," he said. "The two-day practice game in which I got 89 also was a massive help as I approached it as if I was playing a Test and planned my innings accordingly."