Bangladesh have performed poorly in away Tests in recent years but showed great spirit and results in games at home. In the last five years, they won only one of the 13 away Tests and lost the others, including the first two Tests in the ongoing New Zealand series.
But at home turf, the Tigers fought valiantly and won eight Tests during the same period against opponents like Australia and England. They lost five others and ended up drawing as many. With two consecutive innings defeats in Test against host New Zealand, Bangladesh now has last opportunity to break the jinx.
Bangladesh had a chance to draw the virtually three-day second Test (first two day's play was washed out due to rain) but short deliveries on a wicket favouring the fast bowlers of the hosts trounced that dream to concede nine defeats on the Kiwi soil, featuring seven innings defeats. But, Bangladesh stand-in captain Mahmudullah, who led Bangladesh in six Tests featuring four defeats, one win and a draw, reached the landmark of scoring 1000 plus runs (1043 runs) as the 6th Bangladeshi batsmen in the away Test.
Tamim Iqbal dominated the list scoring 1851 runs. Cricket coach and analyst Jalal Ahmed Chowdhury noted that the inability of Bangladeshi batsmen to face short deliveries is one of the reasons for their poor show.
"I think the unfamiliarity of playing short-pitched balls in a pace-friendly condition was a big reason behind Bangladesh's capitulation in New Zealand," Jalal recently expressed. "They have the right technique to play short deliveries, but they are not habituated to do that on a regular basis," he pointed out. "They failed to respond instantly against short deliveries in both Tests in New Zealand."
Bangladesh lost eight wickets to short deliveries in the first innings of the first Test in Hamilton. In the second innings, they lost four wickets to short balls. They did not learn from the first Test and lost more than 10 wickets to short balls in the second Test in Wellington.
Jalal noted issues with the footwork of the batsmen and their failure to move the bat from the line of the balls. He said the team might have been "weak" mentally. "There was a lack of characters who could inspire the team in tough situations," he said. The analyst said Tigers failed to sense New Zealand's plan and prepare accordingly.
"We should have realised their plan because we've been playing international cricket for a long time now. If we had sensed their plan we could create ours. But we failed to do that and we failed to execute ours as well," Jalal said.
Bangladesh missed Shakib Al Hasan in the ODI series against New Zealand. The ace all-rounder is set to miss the Test series as well. Mushfiqur Rahim also missed the first two Tests. He was sidelined after ODI series due to some issues with his finger and rib. Jalal believes the absence of Shakib and Mushfiqur also added to the Tigers' sufferings.
"Their absence was a big reason behind Bangladesh's dismal show. Bangladesh relied too much on Mehidy Hasan Miraz in the first Test which was not fruitful at the end of the day," he said. "We failed to respond to the situation suitably. "
Just before the series against Bangladesh, New Zealand played against Sri Lanka and won the two-match Test series 1-0. They had adequate preparation to play against a sub-continental opponent. Tigers, on the other hand, went to New Zealand after the 6th season of Bangladesh Premier League. "Bangladesh did not get enough time to prepare for the condition of New Zealand. I believe, this had a big impact on the series," Jalal said.
Despite the dismal results, Bangladesh can remember the centuries from Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah and Soumya Sarkar during the first Test. "Tamim Iqbal and Shadman Islam record three 50-plus opening stands in succession. But unfortunately, we failed to capitalise it. Rahi (Abu Jayed) has bowled well. We have understood that our pacers can do well if they get a favorable condition," Jalal Chowdhury added.
The New Zealand series is a wakeup call for Tigers. Bangladesh needs to seriously work on overcoming their shortcomings to replicate their home turf performance in away games.
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