An enthusiastic Bangladesh fan waves the Bangladesh flag © AFP
An enthusiastic Bangladesh fan waves the Bangladesh flag © AFP

One might wonder what works within the minds of Bangladesh fans. Do they have a secret supply of energy? Do they have a mantra to stay magically enthusiastic all the time? The mystery is yet to be decoded. At the end of Day Four Sri Lanka, despite the middle order falling down like dominos tiles, managed a lead of 139. But Bangladesh supporters were not the ones to back down. They still had all the faith in the Tamims and Shakibs, as if they were demigods, as if they can emulate mythical characters, who will smirk at all that comes their way, emerging with superpowers. Not a decibel of their cheer reduced, not a milligram of dip in the energy level. Full Cricket Scorecard: Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, 2nd Test at Colombo

On Day Five morning, Bangladesh gave away too many unnecessary runs. It all snowballed to a target of 191. Arm-chair cricket fanatics had their views all cooked. “Rangana Herath will make his birthday special.” “Two sessions and 10 Bangladesh wickets”.

Predictions were on full throttle. To add salt to the wound, Soumya Sarkar and Imrul Kayes had a cameo appearance that added to their misery. “The great Bangla collapse has started,” a quote floated in air with an evil laugh echoing.

The fans knew they had Tamim Iqbal at the crease. Just like a perfectly programmed system, Bangladesh supporters modified their cheers from ‘Taaamim, Soumyaaa’ to ‘Taaamim, Saaabbir’. Without a shadow of doubt, they had more faith in Tamim and Sabbir’s abilities than the batsmen had in themselves.

Tamim eventually showed why he is the most accomplished Bangladesh batsman. Sabbir and he, against all the odds, paved Bangladesh’s way towards the glory the team had craved for, maybe for years, maybe forever. The moment they had waited for was nearby. They could see it from a distance. It had not come out of the blue. It took years and years of hard work, relentless criticism, and boundless belief.

After more drama and a quartet of wickets, when Mehedi Hasan hit the winning runs and the team rejoiced the Colombo ground, the madly avid fans celebrated like a kid celebrates its first ever victory. Even after winning only 8 of the 99 Tests, the fans were unaffected. They never gave up on their heroes, they never lost hopes, and they finally got what they had yearned for.

The local supporters may have outnumbered them but could not eclipse the passion they oozed out to help their team pull off the unlikely. Bangladesh fans, over the years, have earned various tags – overreacting, over-emotional, senseless. Even in matches of utter indifference to the supporters of the ‘giants’ of cricketing world, one can spot a handful of Bangladesh fans with a ‘rag tiger’ tugged under their arms and body painted in yellow and black stripes. Well, cricket is a game of passion after all, and Bangladesh fans have their own way of portraying it.

Mushfiqur Rahim’s Bangladesh had to win the 100th Test. Not for them, but for the unfailing faith of the supporters, for the abundance of yellow and black stripes, for the strength that keeps that fan waving the Bangladesh flag forever, with glory