Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha has said his team's inexperienced pace attack has to overcome the physical test of playing back-to-back Tests if the team is to compete as hard as it did in Wellington. Taskin Ahmed, Subashis Roy and Kamrul Islam Rabbi together bowled 99.2 overs to take seven wickets in Wellington, and get only a three-day break before the second Test begins in Christchurch.
Hathurusingha said none of the Bangladesh pace bowlers were used to taking on that much of a workload, with the Wellington Test being Taskin's first first-class game in nearly four years. Subashis and Rabbi are regulars at their domestic outfits but like any other pace bowler in Bangladesh's domestic scene, they hardly get a long bowl in first-class matches. Hathurusingha also pointed out that conditions in Christchurch would be favourable to the Bangladesh bowlers.
"I think it is a physical challenge of bowling in back-to-back Tests for long overs," Hathurusingha said. "If you look deep into their history, they are not used to bowling like 18 overs and then another 15 overs the next day. With the physical challenge comes the mental challenge as well. But the good thing is that this is the best condition for fast bowlers.
"We had a very green attack in the last game, who had an experience of two Tests between the three fast bowlers. One of them hasn't played a first-class game for three years. But it is not an excuse. We prepared them the way we want. I think they bowled really well in the first innings. They bowled for 140-odd overs and created enough chances. Their [New Zealand] captain acknowledged it as well. What happened in the second innings had nothing to do with them. We lost because of batting."
Apart from the fast bowlers' encouraging show, Hathurusingha is also banking on the batsmen repeating what they did in the first innings in Wellington. Shakib Al Hasan made his maiden double-century while Mushfiqur Rahim battled hard for his 159. Tamim Iqbal, Mominul Haque and Sabbir Rahman also made fifties. Hathurusingha said Bangladesh would look to finish the game better than they did in Wellington.
"We can take lots of positives out of the last game. We were ahead in the game for four days until the last half an hour. We approach this [Christchurch Test] the same way as we did the last Test match.
"We batted really well in the first innings. We will have the same approach. We expect similar conditions here as well. If we happen to bat first, we will do the same thing. We are expecting to finish the game better than the last game."
For the second innings debacle that ultimately cost Bangladesh the match, Hathurusingha didn't point fingers at any batsman in particular but said their approach depended on their mindset, which has to improve in a game's second innings. Bangladesh were bowled out for 160 with Mushfiqur Rahim having to retire hurt after receiving a knock to the head and Imrul Kayes also injuring his thigh. But the rest of the batsmen, particularly Shakib, couldn't replicate their first-inning exploits.
"I don't blame one particular person. It is all about our batting group," Hathurusingha said. "We didn't bat well in the second innings. What went through their head, I don't know.
"It is definitely something to do with how they think, how they approach the second innings. We have discussed it and I am sure we are going to rectify it in the next game."