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Bangladesh vs Afghanistan, 2019-20

A review of Bangladesh vs Afghanistan, 2019-20

Mohammad Isam
Rahmat Shah celebrates after getting to his maiden Test century, Bangladesh v Afghanistan, 1st Test, Chattogram, 1st day, September 5, 2019

Rahmat Shah celebrates after getting to his maiden Test century  •  AFP

Test match (1): Bangladesh 0, Afghanistan 1
Since October 2016, Bangladesh had beaten England, Australia and West Indies in Tests at home, and Sri Lanka away - but their first meeting with Afghanistan ended in embarrassing defeat, after the newcomers outclassed them throughout. Bangladesh almost escaped with a draw thanks to the Chittagong weather, which halved the fourth day and allowed only 13 balls before tea on the fifth, but the Afghans grabbed the four wickets they needed once play restarted, completing victory with 20 balls to spare. Having beaten Ireland in March, they became only the second country, after Australia in the 1870s, to win two of their first three Tests.
Bangladesh looked short of ideas against Afghanistan's accomplished spinners, while their own slow bowlers were one-dimensional. They fielded poorly, too, which said a lot about their state of mind: all the country's players would soon mount a strike in protest at their treatment by the Bangladesh board. Shakib Al Hasan said before and after the match that he did not want to captain the side, and was criticised by the board's outspoken president, Nazmul Hassan, who suggested Shakib didn't actually want to play Test cricket at all. It was a lot to take in for the new coach, the South African Russell Domingo, who had been appointed a fortnight before the match, following Steve Rhodes's post-World Cup sacking.
Afghanistan had made changes since their own underwhelming World Cup. Rahmat Shah, installed as Test captain in April, was replaced before he had even led the team on to the field. If he was disappointed, he did not show it, completing his country's first Test century to set up a challenging total, helped by 92 from Asghar Afghan, Rahmat's predecessor. Rashid Khan was appointed instead, becoming - at 20 - the youngest Test captain. Fears he would be overburdened were allayed by a sensational performance: he followed a fighting 51 with 11 wickets, including the last three in quick succession as Afghanistan grabbed victory in the nick of time.