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News

Hosts use rain delays to keep 'minds fresh'

Shakib Al Hasan spoke of the Bangladesh's frustration on having a second consecutive day washed out due to rain, but said the players were doing other things to stay focused

Heavy rain resulted in play being abandoned without a ball bowled, Bangladesh v South Africa, 2nd Test, Mirpur, 2nd day, July 31, 2015

"It is frustrating but we can't do anything about this" - Shakib Al Hasan  •  Associated Press

As the sun appeared for the first time in two days at the Shere Bangla National Stadium on Saturday, both Bangladesh and South Africa made their way to the ground at around 1:00 P.M. Soon, they got down to business by warming up for the third day's play, which was set to begin at 2:15 P.M.
But it was not to be. Just eight minutes before the players were supposed to walk out to the field, rain poured down again and in less than an hour, play was called off for the second successive day.
The shortest Test played in Bangladesh was the 164.1 overs bowled during a match against New Zealand in 2008 in Dhaka, when the first three days were washed out. The one-off Test against India earlier in June was also short in terms of overs, with the second day being completely rained out in Fatullah. This game, though, is threatening to be even shorter unless the weather improves over the next two days.
Shakib Al Hasan spoke of the players' frustration, but also said that they were doing other things to stay focused.
"It is frustrating but we can't do anything about this," Shakib told GTV. "We need to focus on starting well, whenever we get a chance to play. We have two wickets in hand so we need to get as many runs as possible. We need to bowl well to restrict them for a reasonable total.
"Some of us do gym or running session, or have a swim normally. Whatever makes them comfortable, it can be spending time with the family. We do these things to keep our mind fresh so that when we get a chance to play, we do well."
Shakib said that getting starts was an encouraging sign, but at the same time, felt it was important to capitalise on them and get settled for a big score. Five Bangladesh batsmen, including Shakib, were dismissed between scores of 30 and 65 in this Test.
"If you see our scorecard, there are five-six guys who got starts but no one got a big run. That's the frustrating part. But everyone is contributing. It is a good sign. We would love to see more people getting hundreds and when that happens, they get a big one," he said.
Shakib added that the pitch was not playing out as expected, and said it was equally difficult to score runs freely or expect to take wickets.
"It is very hard to score runs in this track. Ball doesn't come on to the bat. You can't play your shots. At the same time, it is hard to get wickets if you are willing to play according to the ball and not make any mistakes. The pitch is not behaving the way we are expecting, so it is going to be harder whenever we get a chance."
Shakib expects Bangladesh to add more runs to their 246 for 8, but called for the spinners to quickly to come into the thick of things, hopefully on the fourth day.
"Whenever you get one or two quick wickets, it will put opposition under tremendous pressure and hopefully our spinners do what we are expecting them to do. Hopefully it will be a very good match," he said.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84