Post achieving Test status over a decade back, there has been a significant improvement in Bangladesh’s cricket. However, following yet another Test defeat, the latest against England at Lord’s, one is forced to believe that they still have miles to go before being seen as a force to reckon with at an international level.
The major issue with Bangladesh’s cricket has been their inept bowling, which was exposed once again. While the spinners can come in handy on home pitches, the bowling doesn’t really make much of an impression when they go abroad.
And, this one area the Asian minnows would really have to work hard upon in the years to come, if they aim to be consistent in the longer version of the game. In both the innings at Lord’s, the English batsmen looked in no trouble at all, and eventually romped home to victory, which should worry Bangladesh no end.
Of course, when a side amasses 700 plus, they must have played some exceptional cricket. Jonathan Trott’s double hundred was a classic Test match innings, and the Bangladesh batsmen can learn a lot from his knock.
In contrast, Andrew Strauss’ trouble-free half-century in the second innings only reaffirmed what the opposition’s weak link was.
Bangladesh’s bowling effort stuck out like a sore thumb more so since their batting was equally praiseworthy. Tamim Iqbal, in particular, registered an outstanding century, which clearly frustrated the English bowlers.
There were moments when Iqbal looked in total command of the innings and literally toyed with a bowling, which was more than decent by international standards. Again, like their bowling, Bangladesh have plenty of scope for improvement in their batting.
When the conditions were bright and sunny, Bangladesh’s batsmen were on top, but when the sun hid behind the clouds they were miserable, which was primarily responsible for their loss. Their batsmen thus need to be physically as well as mentally tough to cope with varying situations.
Despite the impressive eight-wicket victory margin, England also had their share of troubles amidst the glory, not least of was their inability of make an impression on the batsmen when there wasn’t must assistance from the pitch. If they can be torn apart by an average side like Bangladesh, imagine the havoc that Australia can cause on batsman-friendly pitches.
This should be a strong cause of worry for Andrew Strauss and his men as they head into the second Test. The think-tank of Andy Flower and co need to sit down and analyze how they can improve on this aspect in the coming games.
Graeme Swann had an off game, failing to pick up a single wicket. But, one shouldn’t read too much into it as there was hardly anything on offer for the spinners, as the pacers made merry.
Among the positives for the home team, there were quite a few, expectedly considering the opposition was Bangladesh. Even so, Steven Finn’s nine-wicket effort on debut has to rated as a top-notch performance.
Demonstrating a Glenn McGrath-like accuracy in his first Test, Finn was unplayable under cloudy conditions, an effort reminiscent of Graham Onions during his debut last year.
While he was lethal under helpful conditions, his real test would come when the circumstances get tougher, and there isn’t enough on offer from the surface. For now though, he can enjoy his moment in the sun whilst preparing for the bigger battles ahead.
England would undoubtedly take the momentum from the win into the second Test. And, while Bangladesh can pat themselves on the back for putting up a tough fight, sooner or later, they need to realize that the transition from being brave losers to becoming competitive to the extent of winning needs to take place soon.
Else, the frustration levels of not only the cricketers, but those of the country’s fans, as well as the ICC will be tested.
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