Makeshift Bangladesh Test captain Mahmudullah found it hard to explain the disastrous failure of his batsmen in the second and final Test match against Sri Lanka. The home side lost the game by 215 runs in two and a half days as the visitor clinched the series 1-0.
The 20 Bangladesh wickets fell in a little over 75 overs for 233 runs in two innings as the batsmen crumbled against the Lankan spinners on a slow and low Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium wicket in Dhaka.
While the Lankan batsmen were successful in putting 222 and 226 in two innings despite the struggle, the Bangladesh batsmen had to bite the dust and face heavy criticism because of their approach.
"Such performance is tough to explain," said Mahmudullah to the media following the humiliating defeat Saturday.
"It is very disappointing. We all knew we will have to chase if we lose the toss and that the wicket will be spinner-friendly. We should have batted well in the first innings. That had pushed us back. We had a good chance of scoring 200 or more in the first innings. It was a pressure to chase 340 (339) on such a wicket," the middle-order batsman added.
The Bangladesh batsmen had taken the approach of charging the opposition as a method of survival but there is a debate as to why they did it in the second innings after failing horribly in the first essay.
Explaining the home side’s strategy, Mahmudullah said, "Our plan was to be positive given the condition of the wicket. Or else it becomes tough to survive. We thought we wouldn’t let the opposition bowlers settle but we were wrong in selecting the balls (to go after). I think we failed to decide which ball to defend and which ball to play. We had discussion of having positive intent to give ourselves chance. We cannot keep on defending the balls given that the wicket was unpredictable. If one ball was moving the other came straight," Mahmudullah explained.
Selection of the Bangladesh playing XI in the series-deciding game had also raised eyebrows. Exclusion of Mosaddek Hossain in place of Sabbir Rahman irked many. Mosaddek, who played a vital role in saving Bangladesh in the Chittagong Test last week, was benched and later released to play for his Dhaka Premier League side, Abahani Limited.
And so, Sabbir was called in. He last played a Test for Bangladesh in South Africa in October last year and was excluded from the first Test due to below-par performance in the longest format. The right-handed batsman last played competitive cricket in December and is currently serving a six-month domestic ban. As a result, Sabbir's lean patch prolonged as the batsman could score only one run in two innings, and survived only five deliveries.
"Sabbir's inclusion was because he plays spin well with sweep and reverse sweep. As I said before, survival could be very difficult if the bowlers are attacked," was the explanation of Mahmudullah regarding Sabbir's sudden inclusion.