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RazabQ
May 30, 2004, 12:57 AM
A beaming smile that would warm the heart of any. An entire team standing in the rain waiting to embrace the hero of the moment while the opponents are plain embarassed. A warm hug between captain and his once-momentarily-estranged star bowler. A coach - who's seen it all, or so it would seem - moved to wipe away a tear from his eyes. A nation of fans basking in a rare moment of sporting exhiliration and, dare we say, domination?

Md. Rafique became the 13th player to score a test century from the #9 position (South Africa's Shaun Pollock has 2), and in the process, perhaps brought Bangladesh one step closer to that elusive 1st test win. I will attempt to now jot down my observations for the rain abbreviated 2nd day.

Bangladeshi Batting
-------------------
1) We are flat track bullies :) Honestly, if one looks at Bangladesh's best scores, they have come on the slower tracks such as Peshawar or BNS. While this is a good start, it still means that on the bouncier tracks such as upcoming Sabena, we will continue to have issues.

2) A lot more lofted shots were featured. As if to respond to my bleatings, the Bangladesh batsmen took on the bowlers today and drove with some power. Even tiny Ashraful had a lovely on-drive. Speaking of Ashraful, I was hanging out last evening with a younger cousin who apparently used to play with Ash just before he got selected for the Jr. Nats. While my cousin fondly reminished about a beamer which he had used to almost knock Ashraful out, he also mentioned that Ashraful's small stature belies his physical strengths.
Ash is becoming quite the dependable middle to late order batsmen. I seem to recall at least 2 decent scores in Pakistan, a 90 something in Zim, and today's 84. When the boy (he is still one) gets his shot selection finally right - he will be a world-class batsmen. No doubt about that. Oh another thing - he needs to cut down on his shuffling accross the stump. If I'm Dav or Owen M., I would focus on that.

3) Bangladesh should not take this innings to head. Rafique's innings featured many a ball in the air that just went over/past the fielder or thru the slip cordon. At least 4 clear chances were dropped, while 3-4 half-chances went begging over the two days. There was one runout that was not given, a couple of LBW appeals that could have, on another day, easily gone the other way. On top of that, West Indian misfields prevented a few other potential runouts from developing. Why am I carping on what was arguably Bangladesh's best batting display? Well aside from the fact I think our debut test innings was better, my point is that we are still far removed from scoring 400 odd against a discplined NZ or English team on a green top. Shabash boys, but keep on working hard.

4) The running between the wickets in the top order (upto Rajin) is quite good - world class even. Lower order running between the wickets, while probably better than Windies's could still be better, there were number of yes/no/maybes and a few times one batsmen would be 1/4 down the pitch while the other had not budged. Having said that, I don't think there were too many opportunities for converting singles or doubles or triples which weren't taken up. So again, Shabash BD.

5) The special coaching being given to our lower order Batsmen is paying off. All of them at least can play the front foot and back foot defense. There were a few inside edges & Surrey/Chinese cuts by Rafique, Tapash & Tareq, but in general they didn't look like complete bunnies. Then again, after his century, Md. Rafique might have some objection to being termed a tail-ender :)

6) Innings restarts continue to be an issue. Ash was almost out to the first ball after tea I think. Dunno how you fix that except to play more first class matches.

7) Rafique's century wil probably be the only test century he will ever score. I know some would love to see him promoted up the order and also open in the ODIs but a technique of backing away from pace bowlers and lofting them over the infield is not going to get you runs on a consisten basis unless your name is Viru Shewag. Also, who'd he come before? Their 1st innings failures not-withstanding, Pilot, Dickens & Babu (aka Khaled Mashud, Faisal Hosseins & Mushfique) are just better batsmen. There has been only 13 centuries from that position in test cricket history - there's a reason for that.


Windies Bowling
---------------

1) Again, as if in response to my commentary, the pacers definitely upped the pace, especially Tino Best. He was fired up and bowled in the mid to high 80s consistently with a few topping 90s. Same with Fidel & Pedro who both bowled 2-5 MPH faster today. The exception was Lawson - he was barely military medium. But he sure can make the ball nip back some ways. And I agree with the commentators, he still has a kink in his action which he does not want to draw attention to, which is why he probably is not trying to bowl express.

2) Brian Lara definitely missed a trick or two in the captaincy department. While Tino was charging in he should have had Pedro at the other end to keep things tight and or Fidel charging in to really batter the Bangladeshi batters. (like that alliteration? :) )

More on the leadership front: I know the commentators mentioned practice intensity and how Fidel should have taken high had some during the rain delays, but hello isn't that where a captain goes up to his young player and says, "son, lemme hit some up for you, I noticed you were off yesterday". It's things like this that makes me believe that despite his batting genius and general tactical nous, Lara is not a good captain. His 2nd day article (as summarised by IanW) just rams that point home.

3) Sarwan, and this is not the first time topic has been broached in cricket discussions, can become quite a handy leggie. He's got a pretty deceptive quicker one, and even Ash, Pilot & Mushfique had some trouble at picking his straighter ones. If I'm him, I go and practice on getting some drift and a googlie. At present however, we have no business gifting him a 3fer. (okay that last wicket he earned).

4) Why did D. Smith not bowl some more? He'd kept things tight yesterday. More Lara faulting :)

5) Sarwan's and Best's antics were getting a little tiresome. You know shying at the batsmen after every defensive play. I mean even umpire D. Harper was forced to comment "Shy at the stump!"

Bangladesh Strategy For Tomorrow
--------------------------------
1) The Windies are demoralized! Lara's bemoanings about the good ole days confirms that. This _IS_ an opportunity that must be seized by BD. Make like you are going to make them field again (i.e. in your morning interviews, etc), and then declare. Make them rush to having to bat all anxious.

2) BD bowlers must bowl a strict line & length and make the Windies batsmen, who will be apprehensive & impatient, to come after them to force things. I know Tapash, Rafique & Mushfique can do this, but Tareq I'm not so sure about. He was somewhat erratic in the 3-day matches - but he does bowl a few wicket taking deliveries :)

3) If the pressure strategy works, it might not be a bad idea to bring in irregulars like Rajin & Ash and spread the field to make Windies try and go for it.

4) We must target making them follow-on. We _have_ the runs on board and Windies has a looong tail. None of the 4 pacers can bat (e.g. none has a Test 50) so after Jacobs, there is no one.

5) Some overnight shower would not be a bad thing. It would slow down the outfield, and the pitch would get juiced up. Also who wants to face a top-class SLA on a sticky wicket :)

5) Our team's various aspects never click at the same time, and for that I'm very apprehensive. To elaboratee, when our bowling clicks batting fails and vice versa. I really hope that messrs. Lara, Gayle & Sarwan do not run amuck. Inshallah we will prevail in this match, weather permitting.

[Edited on 30-5-2004 by razabq]

Rubu
May 30, 2004, 01:06 AM
should be on the front page.

good one raza-BBQ.

:)

RazabQ
May 30, 2004, 01:15 AM
Originally posted by AgentSmith
should be on the front page.
:)
Only if the 1st day observation makes it. Dukla thekay ekla kora uchit na :) Thanks for your kind words.

oracle
May 30, 2004, 01:24 AM
Good piece. I am bringing this to the other mods attention. Bear with me a second.:)

Zephaniah
May 30, 2004, 05:56 AM
Our Valentine

In our calypso.

pagol-chagol
May 30, 2004, 07:27 AM
I can't believe I missed the first 2 days.

Awsome observations.

You just see things and say things that professional writers don't see.

Awesome observations again.

Except the declaration part though. It seems like someone else wrote that part.

:great:

RazabQ
May 30, 2004, 08:12 AM
Originally posted by pagol-chagol
Except the declaration part though. It seems like someone else wrote that part.
:great:
Heh heh.. na bhai, kono chotha nai amar kaajey. Oi part ta ektu hoito tara hura koray likhechi.

I'm glad you find my obvservations to be insightful - it is one of my pet peeves that often commentators are so busy with an anecdote or story angle, that they miss the game itself. Worst are American TV commentators. Everyone should learn from Richie Benaud.