As the third day of the Pink Test was set to begin, Bangladeshi cricket fans again sat in front of TV sets with a hope that Bangladesh will survive the Indian onslaught and avoid the follow-on. After five days of sufferings with bat and ball throughout the series, that seemed to be the most anticipated conclusion for the visitors.
In this age of online news, flash-scores, and quick updates, keeping pace with a Bangladesh innings, especially when they are batting, however, can be a tough ask. The Tigers will not give you much time to settle.
Take for example the first morning of the third day of the Eden Test. Bangladesh went into bat with 152 for 6. They had full three days ahead of them to score 89 runs to make sure India bat for a second time in the match. But with all that luxury of time to spend, they got bundled out in 48 minutes. The visitors lost their last three wickets in less than an hour. Mahmudullah did not return to bat after sustaining a hamstring injury on the second day.
As journalists and online news reporters, we had to keep updating the news from the ground. The first wicket fell in the third over of the day. We wrote the news and updated the score. Within 20 minutes, the Indian pacers struck again. As the news was about to get updated –another one fell.
Bundling out in no time has been a trend for Bangladesh in this series against India. In the first match in Nagpur, the visitors were wrapped up in 58.3 overs in their first innings, under three hours. The second innings was not much of an improvement either. In Nagpur, Bangladesh's second attempt to bat lasted 69.2 overs.
Then came the Eden Test. Bangladesh batted for a total of 71.4 overs. In clock time that was just over five hours. Eden Garden's first innings (30.3 overs) was Bangladesh' fifth shortest in their history, in terms of overs. Bangladesh batted for the shortest time against the Windies, for only 18.2 overs back in 2018.
Now, hastiness creates a problem. Of course, playing with such haste is never going to work in Test cricket. But off the field, the problem was with the fans and the journalists alike. Each time their smartphone screens or browsers of their PCs were refreshed for the latest update while Bangladesh were batting, one number was added to the wicket column of the score.
What triggered this batting disaster? A debate can be called to seek the answer. But to the experts the problem is a technical one, a solution to which needs a higher skill. Former Bangladesh Test opener Javed Omar Belim thinks Bangladeshi batsmen face a lot of good deliveries when they travel overseas, "The number of quality balls create the difference I think. When they play in the local NCL or BCL they get let's say one good delivery per over. But in Test matches this number increases to 4 or 5. A higher skill is required to deal with that. And also the batsmen have to have the habit of facing consistent good bowling." Javed told The Business Standard.
Javed was also concerned about the rawness of some of the batsmen. Young guns were not ready to take the challenge of such a tough series, "See, some of the players we chose for our Test team do not have a wealth of experience. It is hard for a cricketer to play in the Test arena after only playing 5 to 6 first class matches." Added Javed.