Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan called his side’s victory over West Indies in the second Test in Mirpur – capped by enforcing the follow-on and winning by an innings for the first time – a special achievement. The win helped the hosts seal a 2-0 series victory, reports Reuters.
What made it special was how Bangladesh turned their fortunes around after suffering a series defeat by the same margin back in the West Indies only four months ago.
Shakib said he had demanded the best from his players, having delivered them a message to not forget how poorly they played against the same team in July. He said he was happy to see them respond strongly.
“This is the first time we enforced the follow-on in more than 100 Tests in 18 years, which is definitely something special,” Shakib, who has been involved in ten of Bangladesh’s 38 innings defeats, said. “We haven’t done this against smaller teams, so to do it against a higher-ranked side is an achievement. We obviously had a lot to prove after losing to them in that manner [in July]. I think we have done that at least at home.
“I would thank my team-mates and the coaching staff, for believing that it was possible. I was quite demanding of my players in this series. I wanted a lot from them. I think everyone contributed in their own way, but I saw everyone really wanting to contribute to the win.”
The series defeat in the West Indies was particularly scathing for Bangladesh as they were bowled out for 43 in the first Test, the lowest Test total since 1974. Bangladesh’s combined batting average of 12.60 was also the lowest in 63 years by any side, and even though they did wage a comeback by winning the ODI and T20I series, Shakib said a stronger riposte was always going to come through a Test series win over the same opponents.
“We never expected such a performance in the West Indies,” he said. “We held discussions after the Test series defeat there, and then came back strongly in the ODIs and T20Is. “Since we didn’t do well in the Tests [there], we had this opportunity to do well at home. We wanted people to at least understand that it was a performance in their home conditions, and see that we could do the same in our home conditions.”
Shakib also praised his batsmen for making the most of good batting conditions in the first two days of this Test. Mahmudullah struck his third Test hundred, a bloody-minded 136 that spanned over six hours, while debutant Shadman Islam, Liton Das and Shakib himself struck half-centuries.
“Our batsmen have done well on good wickets,” Shakib said. “Both sides [Bangladesh and Sri Lanka] made plenty of runs in the Chittagong Test in January. Afterwards, we have played mostly on tough wickets, at home and in the West Indies.
Even the opposing side didn’t reach 500. It is not right to blame the batsmen all the time.
“In this game, they believed in the plan put in front of them. We no longer prepare flat wickets on which we are expected to score 500 and draw the game.
We try to win every game, and this changed mindset has taken us to a better place as cricketers.”