The Bangladesh cricketers returned home from New Zealand on Saturday afternoon, with what will be mixed emotions over their checquered performance in a 2-match Test series against the hosts.
But even that was undoubtedly an improvement over previous tours to the country, thanks to the first Test in Mount Maunganui, where Bangladesh beat the hosts by 8 wickets, scaling a peak that is arguably unmatched in the country's cricket history.
It was Bangladesh’s maiden victory against New Zealand in New Zealand in any format. Before this match, Bangladesh had come a cropper in 32 previous attempts across all three forms of the game.
The players will now get busy with the eighth edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), which is set to begin on January 21 in Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. The event will be played in three different venues across the country.
“The way we played in the first match was a happy thing for us,” Mominul Haque, Bangladesh captain, told the media after the team’s arrival in Dhaka. “And the way we lost the second Test, I’m as a captain not happy with that result. We should have done better.”
Ebadot Hossain, the right-arm fast bowler of the Tigers, played a pivotal role in the Mt Maunganui conquest, with a fiery matchwinning spell of bowling spanning the last hour of play on day 4, and the opening hour of day 5. He was supported by fellow pacers Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam - together the trio took 13 of the 20 New Zealand wickets. Although Mehidy Hasan's contribution with his off spinners (and with the bat) cannot be neglected.
All in all, Bangladesh showed exemplary application and assurance through all 5 days of play in that Test.
But in the second match Christchurch, Bangladesh not only failed to capitalise in terms of the result - the return of a familiar batting collapse to get bowled out in less than two sessions in their first innings was too abrupt a return to the former selves, the listless approach, the cheap throwing away of wickets cheaply. Still, a defiant century by Liton Das in the second innings, even as the team lost the match by an innings and 117 runs, signalled what a new generation has to offer.
Bangladesh’s next international assignment is to play against Afghanistan at home. This series will take place right after the BPL.