The debacle in the first Test was still fresh as the Bangladesh team were getting ready to depart for Bloemfontein in the morning today. They needed only to look to their right when facing the team bus on the driveway of the NWU Puk Sports Village to see the stands of Senwes Park, the venue where they suffered a 333-run defeat against South Africa on the fifth day just a day before.
Mahmudullah Riyad, back in the side after being left out for Bangladesh’s 100th Test in Colombo and the home series against Australia, was one of the few batsmen during the first Test in Potchefstroom who enjoyed some success. He scored 66 in the first innings, but was out for nine in Bangladesh’s second innings total of 90, which was their lowest score against South Africa and their first sub-100 total since being bundled out for 62 by Sri Lanka in 2007.
“We are disappointed. The pitch was good but we could not bat the way we wanted to. We made a lot of silly mistakes,” said Mahmudullah before boarding the team bus. “Our target was to draw out the game. But we couldn’t cope with the first session. Our execution was poor. But I am very confident that we will bat better in the second Test, whatever the wicket is. I am sure we can make a comeback.”
After conceding a mammoth 496 for three in the first innings, Bangladesh’s batsmen -- with the exception of Mominul Haque, who scored 77 from 150 -- seemed in a hurry to score runs. Although Mahmudullah, Mominul, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Sabbir Rahman all scored at least 30, there were only two half-centuries in the score of 320. Only Riyad and Mominul played more than 100 deliveries.
“It is not wrong to play shots. Why not hit bad balls for boundaries? He [a batsman] should play his own game,” said Mahmudullah. “Conditions should be considered but it was good batting conditions. We couldn’t execute our skills. We were very poor.”