Bangladesh Return To Old Habits

7 06 2010

Well that was short and not particularly sweet! From a position where Bangladesh were genuinely looking like they might have attained a similar total to England’s first innings lead – or at the very least saved the follow on – they subsided to an innings defeat inside three days. Around tea time on the second day, when their score reached the giddy heights of 153 -1 and Tamim Iqbal playing another brilliant innings, the Compulsive Hooker and many of the various commentators were suggesting that due to their recent improvements that the game would probably go the distance and a draw might be on the cards.

Sadly Bangladesh, suddenly finding themselves in unfamiliar territory (i.e. in a reasonable position), decided to fold with not one of the batsman after Tamim seemingly willing to take the responsibility on. Some of the shots in their first innings played by the middle order were simply appalling choices and must have had the ever glowering Jamie Siddons flying into a rage in the dressing room.

Having lost 10 wickets in the evening session on the second day and with conditions favouring England’s bowlers, it was hardly a surprise that they were then bowled out for next to nothing in the second innings. What was a surprise though was that, for the second time in a row, England managed to bowl out Bangladesh in a single session. This is the ultimate in capitulations and if it hadn’t been for the absurdly lowly placed Mahmudullah; the innings could have been over within 20 overs and for around 70 all out.

What does this mean for Bangladesh? Well they have definitely improved in certain areas, their batting for example (despite this last showing) has been much better in the home and away tests against England recently. Tamim of course has been a revelation and with signs that, just maybe, Siddique and Kayes are beginning to find their way all is not lost. Mushfiqur Rahim looks the best organised of their players and should probably bat in the top 6, similarly Mahmudullah is too low placed to be effective at 8, and Shakib, whilst he had a poor series, is a reasonable player too. There is hope in other words.

Their bowling on the other hand is a different story. The seamers are dire on the whole, although Shafiul Islam showed enough to suggest he should be opening the bowling more regularly and Shahadat also had his moments. Shakib apart, the spinners are also not up to much as most of them could most kindly be called ‘one day bowlers’. Containing but not threatening. Even Shakib is not much more than a Paul Harris who, if you have been reading this site for a while, you will know we do not rate particularly highly. (At least Shakib does spin the odd one though…)

England, on the other hand, will be pleased with their work at Old Trafford. Everything they needed to come off in their bowling did; Swann showed the last game was simply a blip, Finn took another five wicket haul, Anderson looked like he was back to ‘good Jimmy’ status, Shahzad had a good debut and, whilst still raw, looked like he had more than enough pace and swing to trouble the best.

In the batting it was much the same story across the two test matches, the only let downs probably being Alistair Cook, KP and possibly Eoin Morgan. With Collingwood to come back however and with County Cricket having thrown up a couple of likely replacements should any of the front line players get injured, there is no need to worry.

The clinical nature of the victory, coming as it did in 3 days, was also important as, if England are going to be challenging for the top spot in test cricket, they need to show a ruthlessness that had been absent in the previous game. England now face Pakistan later in the Summer and it is important that they take advantage of their disarray before going to the Ashes in November feeling at the top of their game.

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