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December 10, 2002, 09:02 AM
by Andrew Miller
Tuesday, December 10, 2002

By anyone’s standards, Bangladesh’s first two years in Test cricket have been stunningly inept … but today’s collapse of seven wickets for seven runs was as bad as they have ever been. Their defeat – by an innings and 310 runs – was their heaviest in 16 pitiful outings, and their second-innings total of 87 was their lowest yet. Words cannot convey how poor this team are … but the statistics certainly can.

Bangladesh have now lost ten Tests in a row – a record. They have lost eight of their last nine matches by an innings, and that figure would have been nine out of nine but for Sri Lanka’s decision to field a second XI in Colombo in July. Even then, the rookies had the chance to enforce the follow-on, but instead they opted for batting practice – and declared on 263 for 2.

Bangladesh have conceded a grand total of 7941 runs in those 16 Tests, with an astonishing 94% of these coming in the opposition’s first innings – 7503 to 438. In that time, they have managed to take just 132 wickets – and only seven of these have come in the second innings. Even this total is distorted, as it includes two cases of “retired bored” – Sri Lanka’s Marvan Atapattu (201) and Mahela Jayawardene (150) in Colombo in September 2001.

On average, therefore, Bangladesh have conceded a first-innings total of 469 for 8, and replied with a meagre 187 all out. Excluding their first-ever Test outing, when they posted 400 against India, that figure would be even worse – 172.

The individual performances are equally galling. Bangladesh have managed three centuries to date – Aminul Islam (in the inaugural Test), Mohammad Ashraful (aged just 17 years and 63 days – the youngest in Test history) and Habibul Bashar (reputedly Bangladesh’s best batsman). They have conceded … 25, including four double-centuries and a further three 150s.

Bangladesh’s most successful bowler, Manjural Islam, has managed only 22 wickets at 57.09. He has at least managed to take five wickets in an innings – 6 for 81 against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo in April 2001 – but only Naimur Rahman (6 for 132 in the inaugural Test) has done likewise. Bangladesh’s opposition, on the other hand, have served up 18 five-wicket hauls, three of them to the Pakistani legspinner, Danish Kaneria.

Kaneria’s case is the most damning indictment of Bangladesh’s Test status. In three matches against them, Kaneria has taken 25 wickets at an average of 11.12. In a further seven matches, he has picked up only 17 more wickets at 45.82, and in his most recent Test over, against Australia in Sharjah, Steve Waugh spanked him for 20 runs.

But Kaneria is not the only player to fill his boots against the minnows. Graeme Smith of South Africa turned his maiden Test century into the first double of his first-class career, while Ramnaresh Sarwan, who had gone 54 matches and 74 innings without an international hundred, has suddenly stolen two in a week. And then, of course, there is the case of Jermaine Lawson’s absurd bowling figures. Whichever way you look at Bangladesh’s first two years at the top, it makes grim reading.

December 10, 2002, 09:06 AM
.........it's hard to argue with that.

December 10, 2002, 01:43 PM
and we got to put on our stupid agrarian faces and grin at whatever insults the world throws at us, because it's all God damn true.

December 11, 2002, 02:20 AM
I still believe that we are a better test nation than a one day nation - even after watching the 1st test match against West Indies - both the first and second innings of Bangladesh, along with the bowling of Bangladesh in the West Indian innings.

And it is not only the case of "TALENT" and "POTENTIAL = CROWD INTEREST" upon which we got our test status.

December 11, 2002, 04:20 AM
I don't know about that. Our one day scores have been pretty consistent while our Test scores are all over the board.

Also, we don't have the temperament. :)