Bangladesh got off to a promising start but could not make the most of it as they folded for just 234 runs, despite a resplendent Tamim Iqbal century, in the first innings of the first Test against New Zealand in Hamilton yesterday.
All 11 members of the national team were sporting black armbands to mourn the tragedy of the recent Chawkbazar fire that claimed 69 lives on the night of February 20, as well as to condole the passing of Syed Altaf Hossain -- widely acknowledged to be the first cricket coach of independent Bangladesh -- on February 26.
It was the green-top at the Seddon Park that was mostly talked about ahead of the Test, and it was assumed that it would give great assistance to the pacers. However, as head curator Karl Johnson had mentioned in the lead-up, the pitch had something for both bowlers and batsmen. While the pacers did get some initial movement, the surface had a lot to offer to the batsmen.
Perhaps the way Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal batted on his way to authoring a 128-ball 126 spoke to how batsmen could be the ones to make hay on the green if they chose their shots wisely. There was a valuable example later on in how patiently the two Kiwi openers -- Jeet Raval and Tom Latham -- batted after Bangladesh were kept to a sub-par total and ended the day in the drivers' seat, on 86 without loss.
Be it Mominul Haque chasing a harmless delivery down the leg side and nicking it to wicketkeeper BJ Watling, or stand-in skipper Mahmudullah Riyad's reckless attempt to pull a short delivery and top-edging a catch at a time when Bangladesh required the captain more than ever, it was only the Tigers themselves to be blamed for letting the initial momentum slip out of their hands.
While there would be no question regarding the skill and talent of the likes of Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar or Mohammad Mithun, the way they gave their wickets away cheaply in an attempt to score runs was almost as if the batsmen were playing a limited-overs game and not a five-day Test that requires a lot more temperament.
With New Zealand on top, it will now be a tough ask for the Tigers to claw their way back, and at the very least would require a lot more character and maturity than displayed yesterday.