Bangladesh Win At Last

11 07 2010

Bangladesh Win

Well that was a surprise!

We are talking, of course, about Bangladesh’s very first win over England in any form of cricket which occurred yesterday at the County Ground, Bristol. We have written about this series and its lack of meaningful context, yet suddenly, with this win for the the underdog, it has assumed, if not quite a relevancy, certainly an added piquancy. Unless you are a dyed-in-the-wool, English cricket fundamentalist, who only ever wants to see England crush their opposition with no sympathy for the up and coming nations, this was an exciting day for cricket. Whilst it is hardly likely to herald a changing in the world order it has served amongst other things as a wake up call for Andrew Strauss’ men who have now lost three from four games, a boost for the ECB with regard to potential returns from the third game and a major fillip to the Bangladeshi team who now have a chance of winning the series.

Jamie Siddons, probably the most frustrated national coach in the world and usually someone who looks like he is about to personally lynch the latest Bangladeshi to be dismissed in some careless and ridiculous manner, was delighted afterwards. It was possible to see from his reaction alone how much this win means for Bangladeshi cricket and, for that reason, it is difficult to begrudge them anything. Up until this game Bangladesh had not won in 14 one day matches against England and indeed in any form of cricket for 247 days against any opposition, despite putting in some impressive performances during this time.

In preceding matches with the game finely balanced, an Englishman has always stood up to take the game away from Bangladesh. Unfortunately for England; yesterday’s man was Jonathan Trott who, at several points through his innings, looked like he was batting for himself rather than the team. Only sparked into boundary hitting form late in his innings we couldn’t help but feel that the innings typified why he is not ever going to be a truly effective one day player. Had Morgan or Collingwood been the ones batting through, the game would have probably been won with overs to spare due to their ability to work the ball around. Indeed the progression of runs needed over the last 10 overs showed this perfectly. At 10 overs to go 66 runs were needed, which  but with quite honestly is the sort of asking rate Morgan laughs at, yet with Trott nurdling this became 23 from two.  Trott scored at a strike rate at just over 50 runs per 100 balls for much of his innings (at the end of the 35th over he had 45 from 83 balls) indicating a serious problem with keeping the scoreboard ticking over and in the long term probably losing the game for England.

To tell the truth, this first win for Bangladesh against England was always coming as they are a fast improving side and England were bound to have an off day at some point. The difference to Bangladesh yesterday was probably the captain. In the recent past Shakib Al Hasan has been doing the job and in all honesty has not been making a particularly good fist of it. Good bowler and useful batsman that he is, Shakib had previously shown the cricketing brain and tactical nous of a shrew, often seemingly playing for defeat (if such a thing is possible in professional sports!). The skipper for this series, Mashrafe Mortaza, has shown what a difference positive captaincy can make and we hope that he maintains his injury free form over the coming months and years as Bangladesh undoubtedly will need him. Without him at the helm, and despite Trott, we would go as far to say that England would probably have walked home fairly easily despite regularly losing wickets.

England came into this series with team in the grips of squad rotation and on a mini losing streak after Australia had ruthlessly highlighted their flaws in the final two one day games of their series. If England are truly going to challenge for the world cup next year in India, the following questions are the most pressing amongst a few others: Where is the quality back up for the established top 5? Is Craig Kieswetter really the answer at the top of the order? Shahzad or Bresnan?

Without a doubt England have a good team and are finally confident that they can win regularly in this format, yet they clearly still have some way to go before becoming true world beaters. Bangladesh on the other hand needed this badly. Regularly putting up a fight, they have been guilty of not following through to turn this fight into victories. We would like to see them challenge England once again in the final one day match as, who knows, with the added confidence this gives them, they could even sneak a series win!

**********

Morgan for Bell?

Ian Bell suffered an unfortunate injury in the match yesterday, breaking a meta tarsal in his foot attempting a catch whilst fielding, putting him out of the Pakistan test series. Unfortunate for Bell yes, but possibly a timely opportunity for Morgan to press his case in test cricket leading up to the Ashes.

Several famous ex-cricketers including such luminaries as Sunil Gavaskar, Shane Warne and Steve Waugh have already cited Morgan as a possible deciding factor in this Winter’s Ashes series due to his calmness under pressure and with Bell’s injury he now has a further chance to cement a place against Pakistan, which the Compulsive Hooker, as fervent Morgan fans are very pleased about.

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