'A very big turning point for Bangladesh cricket'
Mushfiqur Rahim has said that drawing the first Test in Khulna was as big as a win for Bangladesh, while the coach Chandika Hathurusingha believes the result was proof of the team's competitiveness in the longest format
Mushfiqur Rahim has said that drawing the first Test in Khulna was as big as a win for Bangladesh, while the coach Chandika Hathurusingha believes the result was proof of the team's competitiveness in the longest format. This was the first time Pakistan failed to win a Test match against Bangladesh, who continued to stay on top of the visitors after their complete domination in the limited-overs leg of the tour.
"We had plans to declare but for that we needed a safe score," Mushfiqur said. "We thought about giving them something in the mandatory 15 overs but we needed enough time to bowl them out too. We dominated this draw and it was nothing less than a win, against such a team and with 296 runs behind. Such a performance gives you belief as a group that we can overcome future goals."
Hathurusingha said the 312-run opening stand between Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes, now the highest opening stand in the second innings of a Test match, was a performance worth being called a watershed moment.
"I think it is a very big turning point in Bangladesh cricket. We recently made some history but it is mostly beating our own records. The significance here is the biggest opening partnership in the second innings.
"We have really made a mark in the international stage that we have come of age. The last two days have proved that we are a very competitive side," he said.
Hathurusingha added that the on-field performance was also a result of the Bangladesh players' clarity of communication with themselves and the coaching staff. He had talked during and after the World Cup about how he was willing to give the batsmen more freedom.
"You need to have clarity in whatever you say to the players. They are talented enough to take their own decisions," Hathurusingha said. "My job is to be clear and give them freedom to make decisions in the middle. As long as they do that, it makes me happy. What you see in the middle is the clarity of what we are talking about in the dressing room," .
He also pointed out the crucial moments that Bangladesh overcame in the Test, particularly since the fourth morning, to ultimately find the desired result. "I don't think the wicket helped us draw the game. The batters' skills helped us, so hats off to them. Even Taijul took six wickets so we didn't leave anything in Pakistan's hand to make a declaration. So little things like that helped us to draw the game."
Despite all the records, though, Mushfiqur felt Bangladesh still had to bowl better in order to take 20 wickets.
"There is no end to improvement," Mushfiqur said. "We should have scored more runs in the first innings because you won't be making 550 in the second innings. We must give less runs, maintain a good economy rate, and we also need to take the chances.
"You need 20 wickets to win a Test match. We bowled better on the fourth day than we did on the third day. Taijul bowled very well. We have to plan according to the pitch in the next game. Hopefully it will have some help for the bowlers to take 20 wickets."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84