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Frustration as Bangladesh flatter to deceive

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Oliver Brett | 06:52 UK time, Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Bangladesh's cricketers head for the second Test against England at Manchester on Friday having, not for the first team, given an excellent account of themselves at various stages at Lord's - before ultimately crashing to defeat with barely a whimper.

There was a time when Jahurul Islam and Junaid Siddique, two of Bangladesh's more patient batsmen, were batting in late afternoon sunshine on day four of the first Test when it looked like an England victory would be very hard to achieve.

At 289-2, Bangladesh led England by 66 runs and had eight further wickets in hand to build that lead and leave a target that would be out of range for Andrew Strauss and his men on the final day.

But Strauss reluctantly turned to Jonathan Trott in extremis as the four proper bowlers in his attack were ineffective and/or tired. Trott promptly removed Jahurul and the match began heading quickly towards England.

Tamim IqbalTamim's century was the fastest by a Bangladeshi in Tests

By the time Trott - for it was he once again - had nudged the winning runs in the over before tea on Monday, Bangladesh had long thrown in the towel.

Their captain Shakib Al Hasan revealed later he never held out any hope of his team bowling England out for less than 160 and thus winning the match.

That negativity expressed itself when he chose not to give his seam bowlers a second chance when the cloud cover returned. The last 31 overs of England's successful chase were played against uninterrupted spin.

In a sign that they have become accustomed to always expect the worst, Shakib said that a lead of 200 "would have been good, then we could have taken the game to the last session". What he did not say was a lead of 200 would have given them a great chance of winning.

Had there been a final day strategy? He was at the crease himself when Bangladesh held a 105-run lead at the start of play, with five wickets in hand.

Shakib said: "We were thinking if after one hour we didn't lose any wickets then the ball would get older and it would be easier to bat, but after 40 minutes I got out and then Mushy [Mushfiqur Rahim] got out and then we were unable to give our bowlers a chance."

But while Siddique played patiently during that first hour, Shakib, pointedly did not. No doubt enticed by Strauss's attacking fields he played too many shots and ultimately paid the price.

But perhaps it is unfair to criticise Bangladesh too harshly. After all, with Tamim Iqbal's century and the five-wicket haul of Shahadat Hossain the highlights, they caused England more than a few problems in the capital.

Their batsmen certainly put James Anderson through plenty of work. England's attack leader got through 60 overs and will not be able to say he is rusty for the second Test at his home ground Old Trafford.

So after 68 Tests, they still only have three wins under their belts (one against Zimbabwe and two against an understrength West Indies team).

One interested spectator who was at Lord's for all five days was Mohammad Shafaat Mahtab, a former Bangladesh A player, now studying in London.

He told me: "I read a lot of newspapers in England which are very critical of cricket in Bangladesh. They shouldn't write like this.

"On Sunday, Tamim put in one of our great performances. All our players are in their early 20s and need time to improve their play. To take the game to the tea break of the fifth day is encouraging. And cricket fans in England will, I hope, start to appreciate Bangladesh cricket.

"Tamim says himself: 'I only know the way I bat. When I am at the crease I see the ball, I make the decision very quickly and there's no hesitation about me when I play my cricket.'

"Bangladesh players need to get a chance in English Twenty20 cricket. There are teams that could benefit from taking a player like Tamim, he is a great performer and could help a county win a match."

It is a fair point. Counties have, rather unimaginatively, tended to go down the route of employing cricketers such as Adam Gilchrist (aged 38) and Sanath Jayasuriya (40) rather than looking at individuals like Tamim (21).

Though there is talk that Robiul Islam may be replaced by fellow seam bowler Shafiul Islam for the final Test, Shafaat hopes the selectors will stay loyal to the side who played at Lord's.

"These are players who are really talented for Test cricket," he insists. If not against England at Old Trafford in early June, then perhaps against other leading nations before too long, Bangladesh might start to win a Test match or two.

But for their long-suffering fans the waiting continues.


  • Comment number 1.

    What about Bangladesh the team that came over 5 years ago, weren't they all in their early twenties too? I hope that the Bangladeshi selectors will actually stick with these boys, and find a couple of decent seamers.

  • Comment number 2.

    Tamin Iqbal is in danger of becoming the Chris Gayle of Bangladeshi cricket: simply a different class from his compatriots who become too dependent on him.
    Unfortunately it does not appear he can bowl as well. That is their problem.
    So far as England is concerned the bowling (Finn apart) was intensely mediocre and will not do in an Ashes year.

  • Comment number 3.

    Just copying my post from the previous TMS blog as was wasn't sure if their would be another one for this test match. Apologies if it isn't directly relevant to this blog:

    Here's a few of my observations from the match:

    1 - We can't continue to depend on a bowling attack as capricious as this one. Yes, Jimmy and Broad are capable of tearing sides apart but only seem to do this in brief spurts or when conditions are very helpful. This was just enough to win us the Ashes last year. It won't be enough to win us the Ashes down under. And don't go looking for any assistance from the strips down there.

    2 - S Finn may - just may - provide a solution to the above problem. He appears to be consistently accurate - no doubt assisted by quite a lovely action. Good figures for this test but I'm more impressed with his approach to making a test debut on a distinctly batsman friendly wicket: was unfazed and didn't start trying to dream up cunning ploys to take wickets. Trusted in line and length and was rewarded. It is a shame that we won't be able to see him bowl against a strong batting line-up in tests before the winter.

    3 - Bresnan doesn't merit a place even as a second change bowler. Just a personal view. Don't think that 6 months ago anyone would have picked him as being far more suited to T20 than tests - more likely the other way round. Funny game, cricket.

    4 - Someone needs to have a word with Trott. I genuinely believe that if he needs such an inordinate amount of time and routine in order to bat to his full potential, then he isn't ready to play test cricket at its highest level in a hostile environment. His performance in South Africa is a far better indicator of how he may perform down under than his double-ton here. I'm concerned and, at present, he wouldn't be in my starting XI for the Ashes. The Aussies know the rules and they know how to use them to exploit mental fragility. Expect run-ups to begin before he has finished his little song and dance in the crease.

    5 - Bangladesh demonstrated the ability to learn on the hoof. This is encouraging, as test cricket needs all nations to be at least competitive. The fact that they became competitive by playing ODI cricket in a Lords test suggests they may offer something quite different as time progresses.

    6 - Old Trafford should provide an even more comprehensive vistory for England. If not, then there are serious questions to be answered.

  • Comment number 4.

    "Bangladesh players need to get a chance in English Twenty20 cricket. There are teams that could benefit from taking a player like Tamim, he is a great performer and could help a county win a match."

    This comment from a former Bangladesh A player seems to sum up the problem with Bangladesh's status as a test nation. Surely, rather than being given a chance in an English T20 side, it would be beneficial for young Bangladeshi players to get an opportunity in the English 4-day competition? By and large, Banghladesh's high points in this match came when they bought their short-form skills into the test arena. A century in 103 balls was wonderful to watch with some wonderful strokeplay, both orthodox and innovative but too many batsmen failed to offer any degree of circumspection in their shot selection and this is what leads to collapses.

    Similarly, their bowlers failed to bowl a 'long game', trying to force wickets rather than contain batsmen and induce errors (though this could also be said of much of the English attack at times).

    There were some wonderful personal achievments from Bangladesh in this match, however as a collective they fell woefully short again. The blog highlights that poor/negative leadership may be one of the contributing factors here.

    I realise that this sounds overly negative about a test side that is young both in years and experience but they have demonstrated over the last few days that it may be application that is lacking rather than talent (though their seam attack does seem understandably weak) and there are few acceptable excuses for this from any professional side.

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree 100% with DeepHeat. You don't win test matches with run-a-ball 50s. You win them with longer and bigger innings.
    Too often you were just waiting for the Bangladeshi batsment to try one hit to may - how many ball did Tamim hit in the air just past or short of fielders. Playing like that will all too often result in them being bowled for sub-300 scores and, while it may be entertaining will not win them matches.
    Even the supremely talented Laras and Tendulkers and Viv Richards of this world, all of whom at time sprovide superb hitting and entertainment, learnt that there are occaisions where you just need to stay in and accumulate. I'd say they with your team only having won 3 games in 68, now would be as good a time as any to remember this lesson.

  • Comment number 6.

    I thought Bangladesh were unlucky with the weather over the 5 days. When it was good on the 2nd and 4th day they batted better. Saturday was dire, though, and a lot of international teams would've struggled. Monday was unfortunate - cloudy all morning while Bangladesh batted, then as England come out the clouds part and it's clear and sunny!

    Saying that, I felt the English attack was toothless. Bresnan is a 2nd change at best, Finn bowled well, and Jimmy looked out of touch for the most part. And it wasn't spinning. Hence, Trott bowling... Not really a 20 wicket bowling attack

  • Comment number 7.

    I should also make a general point: Bangladesh clearly raised their game for Lords. I expect them to get badly beaten at Old Trafford

  • Comment number 8.

    Bangladesh showed that they have improved in the test arena, this can be seen by the fact the test went to the final day (despite rain breaks). The team has youth with Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah mixed with a good deal of experience featuring Ashraful and Shakib, and if they stick with a squad like the one they have taken to England, Bangladesh could see success in the test format.

    However, it seems that as a team they dont have the mindset or experience to go a full 5 days. Tamim Iqbal can score a century in 103 balls, but can he go on to score a double ton like Trott did? And the ability to play an old fashioned gritty dig? It would be good to see Bangladesh get a win in the 2nd test, and in future tours to Australia, South Africa etc it would be great to see them win a test away from home, i think it would be better for the game of cricket in Bangladesh and the game of cricket in general.

  • Comment number 9.

    We keep hearing that Bangladesh are getting better and in some respects they are, but when will they actually turn a run of two or three good sessions into five days? Only then will they improve their dismal record. They now have some decent players in Tamim, Shakib, Mushfiqur and Mahmadullah, but their seam bowling attack is woeful.

    As for England, Finn, Trott and Strauss with the bat apart, it was a pretty dismal effort. Play like that against Australia and we'll be in trouble. England's marks out of 10

  • Comment number 10.

    Yes Bangladesh are clearly an improving side, moving in the right direction, and this can only be a good thing for world cricket (although they possibly haven't improved as quickly as many would have hoped)

    Fair play to england for touring bangladesh and then hosting them for 2 home test matches, this will have given their players invaluable experience, and they will be better players for it moving forward.

    PS Did anyone tell tamim this wasn't 20/20 but a lords test !! Played and missed far too much on a fantastic pitch, occupation of the crease and big 100s wins test matches

  • Comment number 11.

    The fact their side is so young, yet were 300-2 at one point following on, shows that they are making progress.

    Their problem is the bowling attack, or rather lack of it.

    I cant see them bowling anyone out cheap.

    If they can unearth a couple of decent pace bowlers, then i can see Bangladesh starting to become a bit more competitive.

    Whilst i dont think their batting line up is the finished article by any stretch, they can take great confidence from their performance at Lords.

    A few of their batsman gave their wickets away because of poor shot selection, that will improve with experience.

  • Comment number 12.

    It seems a bit bizarre to claim that Bangladesh have made no progress since coming over here last, in 2005. Back then I remember being at Lords on the fourth morning to see us take two wickets to win by an innings, and people were getting frustrated that it took longer than an hour!
    The fact that they made us bat again, and at one stage looked like they could force a draw, and possibly be the more likely side to win (although relying on an astonishing collapse, even by English standards), is to their credit. It must be remembered that in 2005 they faced the bowling quartet of Harmison, Flintoff, Hoggard and Jones, just weeks before the Ashes, and none of the seam-bowlers at the moment are at their standard, and apart from Finn, all had poor games. But before I don't think they would have held onto their wickets as they did, and also punish some really poor short and wide bowling from Anderson and Bresnan.
    There has quite clearly been improvement, and for the first time since they became a test playing nation it seemed to me that they were competing with England. Competing does not mean you win, but it does mean that for periods the result could have been any of the three, and that is, just about, true with the test at Lords.

  • Comment number 13.

    For all the polite noises about bangladesh cricket, they got humped again. Even with rain breaks and being 250+/2 in the 2nd they couldn't stretch it to the full sessions.

    I am with Agnew on this. Bangladesh should be playing test cricket against Ireland, kenya and holland. Not having full tours to England and australia.

    Whilst i accept the argument about them never getting any better if they are not exposed to it, what is it doing to test cricket as a whole? It is inflating averages, there is no attraction so often played in empty grounds, and with the amount of cricket being played and test matches under pressure from T20, do Bangladesh bring anything to the test arena?

    No is the answer.

  • Comment number 14.

    A few points:

    -Tamim Iqbal not being picked for the domestic T20 competition: It's pretty obvious when you look at the Bangladesh schedule. England tour now, Asia Cup in June, England tour and ODI games until July 12th, by which time there's only another week of the initial stages of the T20. Hardly difficult to see why no county went for him. Gilchrist and Jayasuriya don't have those commitments.

    -For Bangladesh to get used to English conditions and seamers, they need to spend a whole summer over here. I wonder how much this tour will help the batsmen as they will be playing in Dambulla on the 16th of June in the Asia Cup followed by two more games. They then return for some more fixtures in England.

    That's crazy scheduling. Going from England in the spring to Sri Lanka and then back again means the batsmen won't truly bed down in either set of conditions.

    Bangladesh with the ball were poor. When the spinners can exert no influence, then the seamers should stand up and they, Shahadat excluded, did not. The batsmen did play well but it was pretty apparent that they were fine when the sun was out and the ball wasn't doing too much. Throw in the overcast conditions and they found it a lot harder against an attack that was poor. To be brutal, Bangladesh took the game to the final day courtesy of a decent batting track, a long rain delay at the weekend, and against an England attack where the spinner got nowt, a rookie got wickets, Anderson was out of sorts for the first half of the match, and Bresnan bowled pies and may well have been bowling with a damaged foot, and they still lost by eight wickets. England never really got out of second gear and still completed the job. Had England won the toss and bowled, I'm sure it would have been over far quicker.

    Test cricket helps make undeniable stars out of the like of Shakib and Tamim. In terms of the team as a collective, I still don't see it helping them. International cricket made a star of Ashraful and still people talk of how he scored that first Test century and his heroics against Australia in 2005 but continuing to play Test cricket hasn't made him better. Many commentators have pointed to the low standard of domestic cricket back in Bangladesh and this is a problem. I believe Bangladesh would be better served as a collective by spending an entire season in England playing against county sides, representative sides like MCC and possibly the Unicorns, England Lions, and the England U-19s, and maybe getting them into something like the 40 over competition. It would give them experience of English conditions, pit their batsmen against 6ft seamers (something you don't get many of in Bangladesh), help their spinners to develop by bowling on alien wickets, and really work out the seamers. It's ot said how county cricket helped the West Indies as players individually, and that this talent ended up serving the West Indies team as a whole. I wish there was a way of focusing on the Bangladeshi team as a whole. It won't improve them as a collective if one player goes to play T20 cricket in England and improves by 50% whilst the rest of the team don't improve. If you improve the whole team by 10%, that's worth far more than one player improving by 50%.

    The real test for Bangladesh is Old Trafford. I'm anticipating something a lot spicier than the Lords wicket.

  • Comment number 15.

    Dear Sir,
    I think Bangladesh have not progressed as well as some might have expected them. The reason for this is very poor cricket coaching at under age, middle, and senior cricket, and poor infrastructure facilities within the country, especially quality cricket wickets. Nevertheless in conclusion I hope the Bangladesh cricket team does improve, as there is some potential and talent to work with.

  • Comment number 16.

    Having watched both of Bangladesh's innings the one thing is that when they lost a 3rd wicket in either innings they seemed to me to subside fairly quickly i.e 2nd innings 321/3 to 382 all out

  • Comment number 17.

    And yet again we see a youthful Bangladeshi side show flashes of good cricket but an inability to sustain that consistent level for five days, something which always seems to afflict the weaker sides!

    We can talk till the cows come home about how Bangladeshi cricket can be improved, but I think another issue here is that any Test team whose board treats most of its players in a shabby manner will be doomed to struggle. For example, it wasn't too long ago that a group of Bangaldeshi players, led by Habibul Bashar and featuring the likes of Mohammad Rafique, Shahriar Nafees and Aftab Ahmed amongst others, joined the ICL as the 'Dhaka Warriors'. Most of those guys complained about poor treatment by the selectors and were lured by the prospect of good money and better treatment, also the fact was that their talents were recognised by the League, which was willing to give them chances to display the talent which should have been flourishing on the world stage. Those guys were consequently given life bans, obliged to sever ties with the league and then ostentatiously granted an amnesty, yet we've not really seen them back in the fold. If a country like Pakistan could forgive the likes of Mohammad Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq for their sins and bring them back into the team, why can't the Bangladeshi selectors be more magnanimous?

    For I think it's fair to say that as much talent as has been on display at Lord's, there will be more talent that the team is missing out on. Guys like Shahriar Nafees and Aftab Ahmed have plenty of talent as young batsmen, while Dhiman Ghosh can certainly provide great competition for Mushfiqur Rahim for the gloves. And even an old servant like Mohammad Rafique can still produce the goods; he'd have played at least 50 Tests under a different selection committee!

    I would say that it's this disregard of players as a whole which means that Bangladesh is missing out on a larger pool of talent, which in turn will only prove detrimental to the team. OF course continuity is important but what is the point in sticking with the same bunch is the same poor results are going to be achieved? Why not bring some of the lost talent back and have them compete for places, ensuring a more healthier team which is hungry to succeed? It's silly how Jamie Siddons could criticise Habibul Bashar near the end of his career for not being a valuable asset, yet he still sticks with Mohammad Ashraful, who is still clearly living on past glories and has a dreadful record for a batsman of his talent who's played over 50 Tests!

  • Comment number 18.

    I think a lot of people on this forum are being very harsh on Bangladesh. Its simple geography that means they don't have any seamers. Slow, low wickets mean that no young bowlers want to bowl 25 overs for 100 runs and no wickets. Contrary to what people are saying Bangladesh are improving. 100, couple of fifties, five-fer. That is a improvement considering they would be lucky to make 200 in both innings of a Test match. To make it a four innings match this should be considered as a massive improvement. Playing in unsuccessful teams leads the players into bad habits though i feel that the players were committed to their cause at Lords. They struggled when there was cloud cover but is there any team that hasnt (SA, India, Aussie) Give them credit were its due they tested England.

  • Comment number 19.

    I have to say I agree with Mahtab that the British press are wrong to be so critical of Bangladeshi cricket, particularly the BBC's own Jonathan Agnew. Whilst England should be beating Bangladesh comfotably I don't think it would be right to demote them to some sort of second-class status. Nobody expects the rest of the Premiership to compete with the "big-four", but to deny them the right try to is unthinkable. Bangladesh have shown a lot of improvement from the team they were five years ago, and I'd agree with the comments that it is not so much the skills that are lacking, rather it is the application of those skills to the five-day game.

    The idea of a five-match test series against them is unpalatable, however including them in the test community is the right thing to do. It is to cricket's shame that after 133 years of Test cricket only ten nations have particpated.

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm afraid that I am going to make the same comment that I made last winter. When New Zealand started to play Tests the games were of 3 days duration. Although they took 47 years to win their first Test (albeit playing only a very few matches), they learnt to fight for draws and lost relatively few matches. Only when it became obvious that a result was no longer possible in 3 days did they graduate to 5 day matches.

    The ICC did Bangladesh an immense disfavour by not limiting their matches to four days. Given four days Tests they would have had a fighting chance of drawing a reasonable fraction of matches and would have had a strong incentive to play for a draw in matches that they would otherwise struggle to take into a fifth day.

    In other words, let them learn to avoid defeat in a slightly shorter game rather than being subject to constant beatings in a meaningless attempt to preserve the sacred status of five day Tests.

    And, incidentally, one other thought. England have played Bangladesh now 7 times and won all seven. However, five of those games have been very tight, with England only forcing the victory in extremis usually on the fifth day from an apparently unpromising position. What is the common thread? You always knew that, however strong Bangladesh's position appeared to be on Day 4, you always knew that some kind of collapse was coming and Bangladesh knew it too and couldn't stop themselves.

  • Comment number 21.


    I'd not welcome four day Test matches because that automatically puts Bangladesh on a lower level to Australia. If you're going to go to the lengths (ho ho) of shortening a Test match because it's Bangladesh, then why not just create a second tier of Test cricket played over four days for the like of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and the Associate sides? You could have a neat little triangular tournament going on there followed by an ODI/T20 triangular tournament. I really think something like that does far more good for a team in terms of experience than going to the West Indies for two T20 games and then flying back.

    I get your point about us playing Bangladesh 7 times and winning from difficult positions. I'd question the idea that five games have been very tight. Certainly the ODI where Morgan hit a ton was tight and maybe one Test in Bangladesh was tight but most of the victories have been pretty comfortable. This Test our bowling attack, Finn aside, didn't get out of second gear. They really didn't need to do it. Michael Vaughan called it perfectly at one point where he called for bowling patience as the wickets would come.

    Last week, people were praising the Bangla spirit and also pointing out that Zimbabwe had beaten India. The reality check came very quickly. For all the spirit Bangladesh showed, they were still beaten heavily without too much bother. For all the spirit Zimbabwe showed, they beat what amounted to India A at home and got roundly hammered by Sri Lanka today.

  • Comment number 22.

    Although the Bangladeshi 'attack' is powderpuff in UK conditions, I was impressed by their batting, particularly, as in both innings they experienced bowler friendly conditions, in contrast to England. Had they benefitted from batsmen friendly conditions throughout, I think they would have drawn the match.

  • Comment number 23.

    The trouble with Bangladesh is that they're spending too much effort trying to be good at Tests. That's really old. Unless you're England or Australia, Tests are a waste of time.

    Bangladesh should spend their time concentrating on making a team that can beat everyone at T20 - more bowling variations, better fielding, more stumpings, higher strike rates.

    Why won't people realize that only T20 matters now?

  • Comment number 24.

    If ever there was a wicket on which to avoid losing, Lords provided it. The fact that Bangladesh failed to avoid defeat indicates they are light years away from being a decent test side.
    True they have several good players with bat in hand but as a team they are woeful.
    In the field, close ups of the captain's face and body language can hardly inspire his team.

  • Comment number 25.


    Fair enough, let's end Test cricket. Instead of top notch cricketers, we can fill sides with players of the calibre of Kieron Pollard. If you got rid of Test cricket, the quality of T20 would go down. Certainly the quality of bowling would be reduced, as no Test cricket would eradicate the first-class game as a whole and bowlers simply wouldn't develop enough.

  • Comment number 26.

    #20, Stargazer, wrote:

    "And, incidentally, one other thought. England have played Bangladesh now 7 times and won all seven. However, five of those games have been very tight, with England only forcing the victory in extremis usually on the fifth day from an apparently unpromising position."

    Sorry mate, but you've got to be joking? MArgins of victory for England v Bangladesh in chronological order (not including the most recent test):

    7 wickets
    329 runs
    Innings and 261 runs
    Innings and 27 runs
    181 runs
    9 wickets

    I accept that some of these results may have been forced late on (games in Bangladesh have generally dragged on simply because of the wickets out there) but in none of those games were we in an 'unpromising' position. The win was always well within out grasp at all times in every match above. At no point in the most recent test did we look like not winning. Yes, Bangladesh had a couple of partnerships going at times, but we had runs on the board and hours on the clock.

    I'm keen to see Bangladesh improve, but lets not patronise them by suggesting they're alot better than they actually are.

  • Comment number 27.

    No, I'm not joking. I actually followed the games rather than just looking at the scorecards later. You have also mixed the two big wins in 3 days in 2005 which were the exceptions, with the other results. Bad research, I'm afraid.

    It's the difference between a convincing win on paper and what actually happened on the pitch where the win was not quite as straightforward as it looks in the scorebook.

    In the 2003 tour, England won convincingly on paper, but had to work hard for both wins and struggled to get the result which was most definitely uncertain on the 4th day, at least in the 2nd Test. Last winter, certainly the 2nd Test looked to be heading for a draw on the 4th evening; in fact, had Bangladesh batted 30 minutes more they would almost certainly have saved the game. The Test recently concluded certainly looked likely to be a draw on the 4th evening and even after the late wickets, Jon Agnew was posting - correctly - that a determined batting performance on the 5th morning could kill the game. The point of my post though is that you know, however unpromising the position on Day 4, that collapse will come sooner or later (helped in the recently concluded Test by a diabolical bowling display that made what could have been a tricky chase into a crushing win).

  • Comment number 28.

    Bangladesh cricket is making progress. Their batsmen have shown skill and courage. The top four batters had decent partnerships but the remaining seven need to show perseverance, patience and determination to prolong the innings and put on a couple of longer partnerships. Once the top four return to the comforts of the pavilion their innings folded without testing the rival bowlers. Pacer Shahdat's 5 for 98 in the first innings was a splendid bowling performance. Shakib Al Hasan and Mahamadullah did command respect from the rival batsmen. A five day Test Match with a minimum of 90 overs cricket per day spread over three sessions calls for many more virtues. Bangladesh played well but against the inform Steven Finn on his home turf that gallant effort fell a bit short. Congratulations to the Man of the Match for his 9 wicket haul.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 29.

    Believe it or not, I watched the games as well (at least as much as I could) but felt that it might be a little too much effort to write a brief synopsis of each one.

    I disagree with your assessment of the most recent test for starters and certainly don't think it looked likely to be a draw after Day 4. Yes, Aggers was right when he suggested that a determined performance with the bat could achieve a draw but that is something that Bangladesh have so rarely looked capable of (as you acknowledge in your next sentence). An England win always looked the most likely result in my eyes.

    In both the winter games, The final result is an accurate reflection of England's superiority. Yes they had to work hard to get Bangladesh out in one of these games, but we never upset the odds in doing so. The question mark was over whether they could hold out for the draw and ultimately, England ensured that they couldn't. It wasn't really skin of the teeth stuff either.

    I do feel that when Bangladesh perform slightly better than we are used to seeing them perform then they receive a little too much praise. It's arguably similar to the hyperbole that can often be used in relation to England's good/bad performances.

    Either way, we all see the game differently. Whilst you may think that my simply posting results was a tad simplistic, I actually think that they are ultimately pretty significant. The aim of the game is to win within 5 days. Only time has come close to Bangladesh preventing England from doing so and even then, there has only been one occasion when England have been even a little pushed by time. I'm going to stick with my original sentiment and hope that in 5 years time I don't need to write the same thing again.

  • Comment number 30.

    As an example of my comments above, if the recent test match had taken place against any other test nation, I don't think that people would be saying that they had pushed us hard for the win. The vast majority of comments are made in relation to Bangladesh's status as test minnows. This is fine, but it can lead to giving an inaccurate impression.

    Similarly, if our test record against Australia or South Africa was the same as these last 7 games v Bangladesh, I think that rather than commenting that we'd been pushed hard in 5 from 7, comments would relate to our complete dominance of the opposition. Disagree?

  • Comment number 31.

    The only reason Bangladesh have been able to make England push hard to finish off games, is due entirely to the batsman friendly wickets they've been played on. As soon as there is help for the bowlers they are in deep trouble.

  • Comment number 32.

    It's true that Bangladesh have frustrated in their progress, or some might say (harshly, in my view) lack of it. However, I think it's a bit high and mighty of the English media t be criticising a team for not being up to standard, and not offering world test teams any competition.

    Firstly, wasn't it England who were humiliated in the West Indies time and time again, notably being bowled out for 46? I bet the West Indies' bowlers looked upon that England side as a means to inflate their figures, and their batsmen licked their lips at the prospect of bread- and-butter bowling from England's 'plucky' attack. And how competitive was the Ashes between 1989 up to England's win in 2005? I watched most of the series with a sense of horror and embarrassment - didn't the Aussies wish to make it longer than 2 year intervals at one point because it was no longer competitive? Let's face it, for much of the 1990s, England were an embarrassment, the same way Bangladesh are being vilified now - I'd point to David Lloyd's "we murdered them" comment regarding the team's unconvincing performance in Zimbabwe to back that up

    Secondly, yes Bangladesh do have a problem with seaming conditions, but to be fair, they are not the only sides from the subcontinent to struggle, given that swing and seam are not prevalent in that part of te world. You could turn the argument on its head by pointing to England's well-documented problems in dealing with pitches with the slightest hint of turn in them, although England share their struggles with other visiting teams in that respect

    Thirdly I agree with points already made about the lack of exposure given to Bangladeshi players, both on the international and domestic scene. Internationally, they are often given a series of desultory matches as a "favour" from the established nations. They are treated like an unwanted burden, and thus it's probably not a little surprising that they have not been able to gain as much experience as they could. Furthermore, why do counties sign up players such as Jayasuriya and Gilchrist, who batted poorly in the World 20:20 and the IPL respectively, when Iqbal remains on the sidelines? Unless counties take a chance with non-established names, how are young players (not just from Bangladesh) supposed to progress?

    Finally, remember those "minnows" Sri Lanka, who were also prone to collapsing, had an indifferent bowling line-up and were regarded as 'not up to scratch?' I wonder how they are doing now. Hmmm, no, they were not up to scratch, couldn't possibly have developed into a good cricketing nation in all forms of the game...

  • Comment number 33.

    #32, whilst my post is critical of some Bangladeshi performances, I don't think I'm taking a 'high and mighty' tone. I'm merely responding to another poster's statement with which I disagree. I was offering an honest appraisal of their performance in my own opinion, not stating that they SHOULD be better or that we shouldn't continue to play them because they are not good enough.

    Questions do need to be asked about the merits of their inclusion on the test rota at a time when test cricket needs to keep pace with T20 in terms of its broader appeal. One-sided contests do little for the imagination of the average cricket fan. The recent test was more competitive than may have been the norm and yet the most memorable aspect of it was the fact that fans were allowed onto the Lords outfield!

    Yes, there is some progress for Bangladesh in international cricket and long may that continue. However, I feel it would be even more encouraging both for the game and the country if progress made in the short forms of the game could be matched by progress in the test arena. Sadly, it is perhaps understandable these days that this isn't the case.

  • Comment number 34.

    Frankly I wouldn't be too worried about the progress of T20 cricket, it'll lose pace as it goes on as I'm sure people will see through it and get pretty much indifferent, if not bored to it.

    Secondly, for you to take the example of other countries, specifically mentioning England in the 90s, Post No. 32, is in itself provocative. Countries like New Zealand and Sri Lanka were at least willing during their infancy as Test nations to improve and become more competitive, and in broad terms it meant cutting down on mistakes and learning from their experiences. Can you say that about Bangladesh? In the case of certain players like Ashraful who as I have said are living on past exploits, there seems to have been no desire to improve themselves correct their mistakes and a record of 3 wins in nearly 70 Tests is testament to that. England's poor run in the 90s was due to another myriad of factors which you have not considered, and the 46 not out was nothing more than a blip in an otherwise successful last few years. I think you need to study each issue carefully before making heated statements, with due respect.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'd agree that they have progressed a long way since 2005. There's no way then that they could even remotely contemplate forcing a draw, which looked a decent prospect until late on the 4th day this time. I can't see that relegating them to a second division / withdrawing Test status would be anything more than a slap in the face. By the same argument you might as well kick Italy and possibly Scotland out of the Six Nations and restrict Premiership soccer to the half dozen or so teams that have a credible chance of winning it. People like to see an underdog give the big boys a run for their money, even if they lose. And that's what happened at Lord's. Put another way, do you really want to tell Tamim Iqbal to wipe that happy grin off his face after scoring a ton because his team aren't worthy opponents?

    I'm less sure about future progress though. Sure, Sri Lanka were everyone's easy win for ages, as were New Zealand and Pakistan before them. But SL then turned up two guys called Muralitharan and Vaas and that probably made all the difference. What's more, as ODIs and T20 have come to predominate, the better established teams (including SL) have successfully modified their approach to Test cricket using some of the techniques and tactics from those forms of the game. With Bangla, it's the other way round - they are learning Test cricket from scratch with a skillset based largely on the shorter forms. I'd really like to see them kick on. But I have my doubts that they will.

  • Comment number 36.

    I think if you compare Bangledesh's performance the other day to the last time they played at lords in a test match five years ago, it is clear to see that there has been some improvement. Because put simply Bangledesh were smashed in that game losing by 261 runs and were victim to as one sided a test match as you'll ever see.

    However this time around they gave a better account of themselves by being able to take the game to last day, the basis for much of their improvement revolves around their batsman performing well. When conditions suit, their batting line up not only has the ability to score quickly but heavily also. However the batting is limited by the fact if there is any noticable movement be it from the pich or the air they struggle immensely!

    In their current state, Bangledesh have the ability to win sessions and occassionaly days against competent test teams however i still think they are a long way off from winning test matches against them.

    I believe this is mainly the case not just because of the batsmens technical difficulties against the moving ball but primarily because of their weak bowling line up.

    For in contrast to the batsmen, the bowling strength has changed little from when they last toured England. Many commentators have stated that the Bangledesh's current bowling line up is not even up to county standard and i think they are right. At the moment teams can almost guarantee they'll get plenty of runs against them and the line up lacks so much potency that the odds of them getting the 20 test wickets you HAVE to get to win is unlikely.

  • Comment number 37.

    Being an avid NZ cricket fan I'm faced with the prospect that we're never going to be a world force of the likes of England, India or dare I say it, Australia. That being said, no one would doubt our right to be a Test playing nation.
    Yes we were largely ignored by both England and Australia in the early years, but it took us 25 years to get our first test win, this coming a season after compiling the lowest test innings ever (26).
    It is a generational thing and if world cricket wants Bangladesh to develop they need to be in it for the long haul, not throw them out because they don't look likely to beat anyone away from home for another decade. they need the experience against the best as well as the rest of the test playing nations, you don't know how far you've come unless you can look back and properly assess that.
    They need time and I think we're far too impatient in the current age to accept this fact.

  • Comment number 38.

    I think some credit is due to Bangladesh, they have improved, and it does show that they are playing against tougher oppositions.
    I do think however it is time for a 2 division structure to test cricket, top flight of Aussies, SA, India, Sri Lanka, England, second tier of New Zealand, West Indies, Zim, Bangladesh, Ireland etc, with one being promoted and one dropped at the end of each calendar year based on ratings achieved, maybe the ICC could stage a play off test for the drop and top position every year?

  • Comment number 39.

    Bangladesh should realise that when it comes to Test cricket, only filthy rich nations can manipulate tours for their benefit.
    So Bangladesh will have to do what Sri Lanka does. Take the short format seriously and cultivate that to high standards. Sharp bowling, fielding and batting (though i do feel Sri Lanka dont train as hard as they should regarding their talent). Test cricket is on the verge of extinction.
    You wont believe but the legendary Joel Garner (someone you would expect to bad mouth T20 and ODIs) said that bowlers should stop complaining about batting friendly wickets, shorter game formats and learn to adapt to the changing times. He said bowlers can always work out a way to be successful in any format. That attitude can be applied to batting and fieldling also. Not to mention crowd attraction.
    Test cricket is just a boring formality now. ODIs and T20 are the future.
    And those who think T20 is one dimensional are deluded. Variation and sharp thinking is essential. Just like Test cricket but the margin for error is smaller and the decision making needs to be quicker.
    The world is changing. 5 day matches are rapidly becoming unfavourable and you see empty stands all over the place.

  • Comment number 40.


    "Furthermore, why do counties sign up players such as Jayasuriya and Gilchrist, who batted poorly in the World 20:20 and the IPL respectively, when Iqbal remains on the sidelines? Unless counties take a chance with non-established names, how are young players (not just from Bangladesh) supposed to progress?"

    Go and read my post earlier. No county would sign Tamim Iqbal for the T20 because he isn't available! Bangladesh are touring England now, go to Sri Lanka for the Asia Cup this month, and then return to England for more international fixtures. I think he'd end up being available for the last week of the T20 competition in July.

    Now do you understand why he hasn't been signed?

  • Comment number 41.

    Just going into some detail, but Bangladesh took England's last six wickets in the first innings for 130 runs - not a bad accomplishment considering the position they were in. A first wicket partnership of 185 and a third wicket partnership of 100 in their second innings are also very respectable achievements. England by no means had this Test all their own way, they just had enough quality in reserve to see out the task. Trott and Finn aside though, man for man were England that much better than Bangladesh?

    I stated in my last post that a five-match test series against Bangladesh would be unpalatable, but I see no reason to deny them Test cricket against the likes of England. Let them play two-match series against the top ranked teams, and three match series against the lower ranked ones. Then let them play a four match series against every nation at home. This would help foster a culture of test cricket at home, bringing talent into the game and providing more opportunities for victories on their home turf, and would prevent them taking huge wallopings away from home, which the viewing (and paying) public might not be interested in seeing.

  • Comment number 42.

    Are the Bangladeshi's improving? Yes is the simple answer in my opinion. Having said that, lets not shy away from the reality - which is, is just the steady progress good enough? The answer to the question is no i am afraid. Correct me if i am wrong but i truly believe my beloved Bangladeshi cricketers simply have forgotten how to win (if they ever knew how to anyway). Too often i see defeat written all over their faces. Too often i see the negativism in their eyes. I for one truly believe someone, somehow need to inject fresh air of confidence in the Bangladeshi camp and motivate them, make them believe. Maybe, and only maybe then, we may taste something we haven't tasted in years. VICTORY!! Ahh, the sweet victory.

  • Comment number 43.

    #42 - Agree with your comments, and its interesting to hear them from a Bangladeshi fan. The comments in the blog itself about the lack of belief in the Bangladesh team, esp. from the captain, were very concerning and put all of the comments above in context.

    I got criticised by some for suggesting that England were never in danger from Bangladesh. As people have pointed out, they certainly won some sessions and even won a day of the match, maybe two. By rights, they should have been a realistic shot for a result, even if it is 'only' a draw. The bottom line though is that at present and throughout their test career, they do not seem capable of putting together enough sessions to win a test. Some of this is due to a lack of skill (i.e. an understandably weak seam department), however a huge amount of it seems to do with belief and this should come from the top of the team. They don't seem to trust each other. The batsmen don't bat like they trust their bowlers to do a job and vice versa. Instilling belief and trust will not automatically win test matches because against many nations quality will tell regardless, however it can win you the odd session that you may otherwise have lost. That gives a platform for the next session and so on and so on.

  • Comment number 44.

    Are Bangladesh really making progress? The answer lies in the title of this article - they have flattered to deceive many times over the years. For every step they take forward, they seem to be taking two steps backwards.

    They have been around the test circuit for many years now but still there are no seasoned players in the team. For a team to succeed, it needs a core set of players - 4 to 5 senior players who are very dependable around whom the youngsters can come in and thrive.

    It does not look like Bangladesh domestic cricket is any good as otherwise they would have reached a reasonable standard by now. If they are banished from test cricket then that would be it - what hope would they have of ever coming back? They are not like South Africa which has strong foundations so that they could just come back to be a top side even after years in the wilderness.

    The answer lies in having a two tiered system where tier 1 are the test playing nations. The team that finishes last in a year should be relegated to tier 2 and should be able to get back next year by topping tier 2.

    The benefits of this approach would be that teams in the second tier get more opportunities to play 5 day matches amongst themselves which does not exist today. A promoted team would fight harder to retain its place in tier 1. Every now and then a new team might burst into tier 1 giving them opportunity and exposure as well creating more competition in the process.

  • Comment number 45.

    Further to my previous comment on this subject, we've thought a great deal about Bangladesh and its test status. We have come to the conclusion that this question should not just be about cricket - as the news sadly reminded us again this morning.

    We've come up with a simple way of preserving Bangladesh's test status whilst hopefully making them more competitive.

    Please feel free to read on: Is it time to revoke Bangladesh's test status?

  • Comment number 46.

    #45, thereversesweep, have read your blog and posted a reply. For those who don't want to follow the link, it is suggesting that Bangladesh play 4-day tests rather than 5. I've pasted my response below:

    Nope. Don't buy it I'm afraid. Whilst I understand your reasons for the 4-day proposal and I do agree that it may offer some encouragement and hope to the Bangladesh test side, I feel it was wrong for New Zealand and it would be wrong in this instance as well.

    The bottom line is that it would not be test cricket if the duration of matches were reduced. Any result achieved by Bangladesh would basically have an asterix next to it.

    In addition, implicit in the proposal is the notion that avoiding defeat should be the yardstick by which Bangladesh are measured. Reducing the duration of the game not only makes it harder for the opposition to win, but it also makes it harder for Bangladesh to win. Every side competing in any test should enter the match with the primary aim of winning.

    It would not encourage development in areas of test cricket where it is needed by Bangladesh. The mentality of a batsman coming in at lunch on the 4th day in the final innings would be completely different if he knew there were only two sessions remaining rather than 5.

    Far better to try and invest in the infrastructure of Bangladesh cricket, unearth the talent that is already there and enhance it.

    My personal suggestion would be for the ICC to offer all professional cricket clubs a % of the salary to be paid to any Bangladeshi cricketers that they take onto their books. This will give an incentive to clubs to employ them and will therefore give Bangladeshi players experience of the 4-day game in England or state criket in Oz for example.

  • Comment number 47.

    Bangladesh should not be given test status.It's a huge mistake of ICC.

  • Comment number 48.

    After witnessing the Bangladesh batting performance yesterday, then I think it reinforces the idea I put forward in post #14 that playing Test cricket enhances certain Bangladeshi individuals but isn't doing anywhere near as much to strengthen the team as a whole. Tamim played superbly, Kayes was obdurate and steady. The rest were poor.

  • Comment number 49.

    Bangladesh are like all the asian countries before them, at a complete disadvantage. Whilst England can call on players from around the globe most particularly of course South Africa, Bangladesh have to rely on their indigenous population.
    Not only that but the game is always advancing so that teams trying to climb on board find it harder and harder.
    Perhaps Bangladesh could acquire a few Pakistani pace bowlers by dint of their common ancestry, that would most certainly sharpen up their attack.

    One has to remember in this game they didn't have the best of the conditions. Yes a very poor performance but they are improving and before long we will see them make a breakthrough in the shorter form of the game.
    As for a two tier Test structure ok if there's promotion and relegation.
    I guess West Indies and Pakistan would join Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

    What a huge miss they would be.

  • Comment number 50.


    England can't call on players from all around the globe. They can call on players who qualify to play for England, just as other countries can call on players who qualify (see South Africa and the possibility of Imran Tahir playing for them). We just get more stick because we're an immigrant hotspot.

    The Asian countries have a population advantage over England in terms of numbers. Bangladesh has a population of 160 million, somewhat larger than the UK.

    Promotion and relegation would bring with it major financial implications and one would imagine sponsors would have contractual clauses in place if a team were relegated. I don't think any major national side would want that. Test cricket is a restricted franchise.


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