Four-day structure back home helped Afghanistan against Bangladesh: Rashid Khan
After leading Afghanistan to a historic victory over Bangladesh in the one-off Test here on Monday, skipper Rashid Khan said that four-day structure back home was helping the players get better in the longest format of the game.
Rashid followed up his first innings fifer with a six-wicket haul as the Afghans defied rain threat to record a massive 224-run victory in the two sides’ first meeting over five days.
“It feels good to beat a side like Bangladesh. We are new to this format, so credit goes to the coaching staff for their support. Everyone applied themselves and stuck to the plans,” said Rashid, who in this match became the youngest Test captain at 20 years and 350 days, surpassing the record of Tatenda Taibu, who led Zimbabwe against Sri Lanka in 2004 at the age of 20 years and 358 days.
“Credit goes to the batsmen who batted so well in the first innings and the youngsters for the way they bowled. The youngsters are applying their plans and learning from their mistakes. The four-day structure back home is helping the players,” he said.
The first two sessions of Day 5 were washed out which meant that Afghanistan were left with just one session to try and take the last four Bangladesh wickets. And they didn’t take long to get started with Zahir Khan dismissing skipper Shakib Al Hasan off the very first ball of the day.
Rashid then alternated himself with Zahir, Qais Ahmed and Mohammad Nabi -- who was playing his final Test -- and soon dismissed Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Taijul Islam.
However, with clouds hovering menacingly over the stadium, Soumya Sarkar blocked the bowlers for nearly four overs. Rashid at one point managed to get a leading edge off Sarkar which fell tantalisingly short of mid-off.
Finally, with just four overs left in the day, Rashid managed to get an inside edge off Sarkar and it fell into the hands of short leg, sparking wild celebrations from the Afghanistan players. Chasing a target of 398, Bangladesh were bowled out for 173.
“We had the best preparation for this game. It was challenging for the batsmen, but they applied themselves. The focus now shifts to the T20 series and we’ll try our best to keep enjoying the format,” Rashid said.
Rashid dedicated his Man of the Match award to veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, who played his last Test.
“Legend Nabi had his last game, he’s helped us a lot and I thank him for his contribution to Afghanistan. I would like to dedicate this Man of the Match award to him,” he said.
At 20 years and 354 days, Rashid also became the youngest captain to win a Test, going past Waqar Younis who led Pakistan to victory over Zimbabwe in 1993-94 at the age of 22 years and 20 days.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan blamed the defeat to lack of application by the batters.
“It’s a bit of both. Lack of application from our batsmen and the way we bowled. They (Afghanistan) deserve this win. After playing for 20 years, we can’t say it’s a build-up process. It’s been a while since we played our last Test, but Afghanistan kept the pressure on us, credit goes to their hard work.
“We need to forget this match soon and look forward to the T20 series. They are a very good side in that format, so we need to focus on the series, keeping the World T20 in mind,” Shakib said.