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After bailing the team out of a huge trouble in the first innings, Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim walked into bat in the second innings in similar circumstances with the hosts reeling at 39 for four, still needing 33 runs to make Australia bat again. His work became only tougher when half of the team returned to the pavilion with only 43 runs on the board.
The captain, nevertheless, fought bravely, adding 54 runs with Sabbir Rahman before edging a Pat Cummins delivery behind the stumps to leave his team at 129 for seven. He looked dejected while going back to the pavilion and his apprehensions were not wrong, as Australia thrashed the hosts by seven wickets to level the two-match series 1-1.
The defeat, meanwhile, once again exposed Bangladesh’s inability to play well when the situation demands a defensive approach to save the match. The top-order’s failure to deal with off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who took 13 wickets in the game, has also brought into question Mushfiqur’s batting role in the side.
The skipper looked the most capable from his team of dealing with Lyon, and walking in at number four might have given the hosts a bigger total to defend, but he came to bat at number six, and by then the damage was already done.
However, Mushfiqur, while speaking at the post-match press conference, made it clear that it was not easy for him to bat at number four after keeping for 120 overs (119.5).
“It is a difficult question for me. It was a tactical move on our part, but if you are talking about me, I would say it was not my sole responsibility to bat at No. 4 after keeping for 120 overs,” Mushfiqur said. “I can’t go out to bat at No. 4 when we are batting first and then move to No. 6 if we are batting second. It doesn’t happen anywhere. You can take this risk once or twice, and it might not even click in those occasions.”
Bangladesh sent Nasir Hossain to do the damage control at number four, but it backfired, as the right-handed batsman returned to the pavilion for just five after edging a Steve O’Keefe delivery to the slip cordon. Surprisingly, they also sent Mominul Haque to bat at number eight.
While captain plays a major role in deciding the batting order, Mushfiqur insisted it is not up to him.
“It is not up to me. It was not my decision not to keep wickets in Sri Lanka. I don’t have any problem keeping wickets. I want to contribute to the team in any way possible for as long as I play. It doesn’t matter if I am not the captain or the keeper. I will give my all if I am told to be the 12th man. I will do as the team management says. You better ask this question to the higher authorities,” he said. “It would also make things clear for me.”