Winning or losing are part and parcel of a game. However, the way Afghanistan ousted Bangladesh in the one-off Test match in Chattogram yesterday (Monday) was astonishing to say the least. Afghanistan comprehensively beat Bangladesh by 224 runs. What a performance it was from Afghanistan. They outclassed Bangladesh in all three departments. It was a win that will be remembered for a long time. The thing that stood out was how the Afghan batsmen and bowlers applied themselves.
Rahmat Shah and Asghar Afghan were expected to play the roles they did - the former becoming Afghanistan’s first Test centurion, but what more heartening to see was the way Ibrahim Zadran and Afsar Zazai batted. Both showed great technique and scored crucial runs. Then Rashid's fifty in the first innings and 11 wickets in the game on captaincy debut took them over the line.
Bangladesh stepped onto day five, faced with an impossible task of saving this match, let alone winning it. Everyone knew that Bangladesh were on the brink of a defeat against Afghanistan after day 4. However, persistent rain poured down throughout the day at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. It gave Tigers a chance to save themselves from embarrassment.
A rain halted match started just one hour before the end of the day’s play. Bangladesh had four wickets on the hand and they just had to bat for one hour to draw this match. However, the incompetent Bangladesh batsmen couldn’t even do that as they were all out for 173 with 3.2 overs to spare.
Earlier, incessant rain continuously delayed the start of the day’s play. As a result, the first session of the day was wiped out. After launch rain stopped for a while and there was a short spell of three overs played. However, rain started again and two more sessions were lost.
Afghanistan were probably keeping their fingers crossed, praying and hoping for the play to resume and their prayers were answered. Finally, rain stopped and the game started. First ball after rain, danger-man Shakib Al Hasan was gone as he tried to cut a ball outside off stump and it took a slight edge to the hands of the wicketkeeper, leaving Bangladesh crumbling at 143/7.
After Shakib’s dismissal Bangladesh added a mere 30 runs, lost last 3 wickets. Rashid Khan putted final nail on Bangladesh’s coffin after dismissing Soumya and earning his team a historical Test triumph.
During the post-match presentation, Shakib said, “I think it’s combination of application of our batsmen and Afghanistan bowling. We need to do a lot of hard work to become a good, consistent team. After playing for 20 years, we cannot say it's a build-up process. We are playing a Test after quite some time but credit goes to Afghanistan.”
This Test match witnessed Afghanistan’s dominance and Bangladesh’s struggle. From batting to bowling, Bangladesh looked clueless in every department and also had no proper strategy to tackle the Afghans. After 20 years in Test cricket, we can say Bangladesh have regressed in Test format as they comprehensively lost to a team who played their third ever Test. More results like this awaits in the future, if the bad habits of old are still not rectified.