The first day of the first test match at Potchefstroom started with one surprise after another and yes, with a little bit of confusion too. In some places, the starting XI of Bangladesh showed Rubel Hossain is playing and in some others showed Sabbir Rahman. The confusion in the end broke out and it is actually Sabbir who is playing. Liton Das kept wickets instead of Mushfiqur Rahim, which is part of another surprise.
But nothing beats the last one. When Mushfiqur won the toss & elected to bowl first, it felt like the captain of Bangladesh had a brain fade right from the word go. The pitch had nothing to offer for seamers as well as the spinners and a sensible captain after winning the toss would have elected to bat first any day without any kind of hesitation. But Mushfiqur’s decison came out as a surprise for everyone and it did backfire, not for others but for the captain himself.
South Africa ended the day with 298 runs for the loss of just one wicket with Dean Elgar not out on 128 and Hashim Amla on 68. Earlier, debutant Aiden Markram was run out for 97 runs. South Africa loves to bat first in a Test match no matter if its a green track or a flat track and Mushfiqur just gave Proteas the opportunity to bat first even in a batting paradise.
Starting from the great Shaun Pollock who was there at the toss to the commentators, everyone was shocked after seeing Mushfiqur electing to field first. This seemed as clear as crystal that it wasn’t difficult to read the track and for the Bangladeshi skipper who spent hours trying to read the pitch before the match has failed miserably in the end to read it.
This is something not new. Mushfiqur Rahim has failed to read the tracks properly in the past too. He has been captaining the Test side for last 6 years and he has also been criticized a lot of times for his defensive tactics and field settings. But his common mistakes doesn’t seem to change.
When the fielders of the top teams are seen in their best positions always, Mustafizur Rahman is once seen in fine leg, then again he is seen in point or cover point. The fizz dropped half a chance at point today, which could have been a different story if Sabbir Rahman was there at that position who’s usual position is at point. A chance in this kind of track hardly comes and you need to utilize it anyhow.
The talking point still remains about the ability of reading the track. The decision of choosing to bat or bowl first is taken by the captain in the field but before the toss, coaching staffs and the captain sits together and then decides what they should do if they win the toss. So, many can say that Mushfiqur should not be the only one to blame but if he could have kept an attacking mentality in himself and throw strong ideas to the coaches, then they would have been forced to change their decision and mindset.
If Mushfiqur and his men chose to bowl first just to keep a target of drawing the test match, then they need to be reminded that they are not a team anymore who used to play a Test match just to avoid an innings defeat. They have recently beat the giants England and Australia in their home and are now on a mission to prove themselves in away series too. But unfortunately, they took the first step all wrong.