This Was Our Toughest Series: Ashraful
Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful described his side's 2-0 series defeat at the hands of South Africa as the toughest series his side has played in the last two years.
Bangladesh slumped to innings defeats in both Bloemfontein and Pretoria although showed an improved performance in the second Test before an abject batting display handed South Africa the match on day three. Included in their innings of 131 were three run outs which Ashraful described as 'fatal'.
"I think it is a crime to get run out in Test cricket and when that happens to the number four, five and six in the batting order then you are bound to get bowled out cheaply," he said. "In my case and Mehrab's the calls were for two but direct hits made the difference."
The match ending in three days left Ashraful disappointed as well as surprised. Asked whether he expected the match to end in three days, he said:
"No. We had worked ourselves into a decent position after two days and I thought the batting would click in the second innings. Unfortunately it was a very poor effort by us when we batted and the three run outs were fatal."
Ashraful was quick to highlight what he saw as a number of positives from the tour, which saw South Africa win all six matches played.
"This was probably the toughest series we have played during the last couple of years because of the pitches, conditions and the strength of the opposition," he said. "However from every match we can take something.
"We played a T20 match first which we should have won. We got ourselves into a position from where we could have won the first ODI also. Our bowling was excellent throughout the tour.
"On an individual level Shakib (Al Hasan) has really come on as a spinner and on pace-friendly wickets taken two five-fors. Especially when you consider that only one spinner (Muttiah Muralitharan) has ever taken five wickets in an innings here before Shakib you realize how significant his performance with the ball has been. Mushie (Mushfiqur Rahim) has been our most dependable batsman in the Test series and showed everyone how to play on wickets that have bounce and pace. Tamim (Iqbal) got starts in every innings he batted and we are just waiting for a big innings from him. Zunaed (Siddique) has also batted well in tough situations."
© Cricket World 2008