There are two ways to approach a Test match and you must decide your approach even before a ball is bowled. Either you go for a win or you play to avoid defeat. When you go for a win you pick bowlers who are likely to pick 20 wickets of the opposition and also, you prepare a pitch that's likely to assist them.
Bangladesh's Mohammad Shahid (right) looks dejected on Day Three of the one-off Test against India yesterday. Pic/AFP
But when you start a Test match with the sole objective of avoiding defeat you pick the team that Bangladesh has picked with a proper batsman slated to bat at No 8 and you prepare a pitch that's unlikely to yield a result in normal circumstances. That's exactly what we've seen at Fatullah.
Struggling in Tests
While Bangladesh has shown signs of improvement in 50-overs cricket, they are still struggling to come to terms with the demands of the longer format. Test matches are won by the bowlers and it's quite unfortunate that Bangladesh hasn't unearthed enough quality bowlers.
Rubel Hossain impressed one and all during the World Cup but he couldn't translate that success into Test match wickets against Pakistan. His first-class numbers too do not provide too much hope for the future.
Shakib, the lone ranger
A year ago, Taskin Ahmed took five wickets on his ODI debut against India but for some reason he isn't even in the fray for Tests even now. Shakib Al Hasan is their lone ranger but he isn't really a bowler, who would run through good batting sides. There's little help for him and hence little hope.
For this Test match against India they picked only one fast bowler in Mohammad Shahid, which meant opening the bowling with a part-timer on the first day of the Test match. It was quite apparent then and there that Bangladesh's objective was to somehow squeeze out a draw, and with that mindset you are guaranteed some unattractive cricket.
The only way they could've made a match of it was by preparing a dustbowl to assist their battery of spinners and that would've justified playing only one pace bowler. On a turning pitch even the part-time spinners will wreck havoc but on a placid pitch, they'll be reduced to just making up the numbers.
It's unfair to compare India with Bangladesh for a variety of reasons but it's only fair to assume that they improve as a Test nation 14 years after acquiring Test status. To be fair, they do have the batting to pile on the runs in batting friendly conditions but it's about time they also trust them enough to start producing result — oriented wickets at home, especially against higher ranked teams.
It might take another decade for Bangladesh to become a force overseas but that process can only start if they start winning Tests at home consistently. Rain was always expected to play spoilsport in June but the bigger disappointment was Bangladesh's lack of intent to produce a result.