Mominul Haque 'didn't sleep at all' leading into final day

Mominul Haque ‘didn’t sleep at all’ leading into final day

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Bangladesh Test captain “not surprised” that Ebadot Hossain stepped up with a six-for in the second innings

Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque said that he kept insisting his bowlers focus only on bowling tightly, and not think about taking wickets on the fifth morning of the first Test against New Zealand. Although it may not sound like an aggressive plan with the team needing wickets swiftly to set up a small chase, Mominul said that he believed it was the right way to go. Mominul also mentioned how he spent a sleepless night thinking about what might happen on the fifth morning of the match.

“I didn’t sleep at all last night,” he said. “When we took the fifth wicket yesterday [on the fourth day], I thought that they might get out for a small total, but it could have been very different too. My message to the bowlers at the start of the [fifth] day was to repeat what we did in the last four days. We can’t go for wickets. You might ask how can they take wickets then? The plan in this Test was that we will not concede runs trying to take wickets. We wanted to create pressure in that way. Whether we get wickets or not.”

The visitors picked up the last five New Zealand wickets in 9.2 overs while conceding just 15 runs. Mominul said that even before that Ebadot Hossain‘s three-wicket burst on the fourth evening gave him the first genuine sign that they could be on to something big.

“When Ebadot suddenly took those three wickets, we felt that we were on to something special. It got a bit clearer after we bowled them out today,” he said. “I don’t think we were over-excited at any stage. You must have seen how calm and cool we were. We were feeling a bit of pressure when we went out to chase the 40 runs. But when Mushfiq bhai hit that [winning] boundary, it did [feel] like we had won.”

Mominul heaped praise on his bowlers – particularly Ebadot who finished with 6 for 46 in the second innings, the first six-for by a Bangladesh fast bowler in almost nine years. He also said that Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam and Mehidy Hasan Miraz were great support acts in a four-man attack many believed wouldn’t be able to take 20 wickets.

“I am not surprised that Ebadot did well,” he said. “I knew – and many others knew – that the day he gets it right, the opponent is finished. But obviously he wasn’t consistent [before the six-wicket haul]. The bowling coach has worked hard with him. I think we are rewarded for playing him consistently in the last few Tests.

“Winning a Test match with just four bowlers is unbelievable. We won this game due to the bowlers. Taskin was outstanding in containing the runs. The way the youngster Shoriful has become an important member of the team in only his second Test is something else. On a wicket that wasn’t offering turn, Miraz [also] eked out the wickets.”

Mominul said that he didn’t even allow himself to think about beating New Zealand in New Zealand previously – or at least till the fourth afternoon of the Mount Maunganui Test.

“We didn’t think about the result. I mean, people would call me pagol [mad] if they heard me talk about winning here,” he said of his side’s first Test win in the country. “We felt confident, we prepared well. We just stuck to the process. We wanted to bat for long. We wanted to bowl in one spot. These are parts of the process that I keep talking about.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84