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rafiq
January 18, 2005, 10:51 AM
Congrats to Bangladesh on a series win, and for saving this test from the brink of defeat when they were set a humongous 374 to win on the 4th day.

Congrats also to Nafis for evolving his game so quickly - each innings he has played in this series has shown increasing maturity, and I am glad to see an attacking player who can also graft - qualities essential in an opener.

And who can help but be excited by Enamul's great talent and his contagious enthusiasm for the game? Not to forget his humility.

Tatenda Taibu deserves great credit for instilling fight in his team and leading them to make a match of it. We don't have experience watching Bangladesh in a competitive tussle over 5 days, and this series was a first in that regard - good for the team, fans and cricket in general.

Now for the downside, and if there is one it's the morning-after feeling that perhaps we could have done a bit more with that 5th day chase. A majority of fans on this board will not agree, but there is one particular reason I feel we could have gone for the win yesterday.

I know the impossible situation Bangladesh were in when faced with chasing 374. Only 3 other teams had done it before and with our 1st innings total and propensity to collapse, chasing this total would have been suicidal.

And so the correct decision was to graft, and Javed Omar and Nafis did exactly that to reach a fantastic 98/0 at stumps on the 4th Day. They had set the innings up to allow Bangladesh room to do whatever it wanted on the final day.

On the 5th day, we were no longer chasing 374, we were now starting essentially a new innings, needing 276 to win with all our wickets and all day to get them. The pitch was holding up fine, and one wonders if Taibu made a mistake taking the heavy roller at the innings break - from what i read the cracks dissapeared as a result.

The ask rate was 3 - not 4 or 5 or 6, but 3. It was not even an ODI ask rate. Overnight I was among the group of fans who suggested a go slow approach but at a reasonably fast enough rate to keep the target in sight. The vast majority of Bangalcricket fans who answered the overnight Poll on the result went with "Win".

"Reasonably fast" was perhaps around 2-2.5 in the morning session. The ball was old, it was not swinging and there was an opportunity to open up after the early morning dew conditions wore off. Some of the commentators, whether they were negative or not, suggested that Bangladesh should keep some pressure on Zimbabawe so they don't start put pressure on us with field placements.

Yet we scored at 1.5 or so for the first session and most of the second. The difference between 1.5 and 2.0 is nominal. yet it would have allowed us to have a chance at the end.

To get 2.0-2.5, you don't have to go fishing outside the offstump or throw away your wicket. You don't have to take undue risk. You just take a few singles through the gaps instead of blocking away the whole session, and you occasionally punish the many bad balls that were offered. Not until Cremer came on did the Zim bowling look threatening - and that was 20 overs into the day.

In the final analysis, when the win-or-draw chase decision was made, we were not really chasing 374 but actually 276. And we could have stayed in touch with the target withouth taking undue risks. Having 10 wickets ensured that if we were to lose any wickets we could go back into the shell.


Bangladesh had no experience chasing to win a test match. At the beginning what seemed impossible became less so at the end of the 4th day. In time we will learn to change our strategy as opportunities present themselves. On this occasion, we didn't. It's not necessarily dissapointing but it's just something else the team will learn in time.

Roosevelt said (and I read this on the doodle board above the men's urinal in some Sufi cafe in downstate Illinois earlier this week!): "We must try to do the things we think we cannot". I think we must and believe, in time, we will.

Edited on, January 18, 2005, 4:02 PM GMT, by rafiq.

shaad
January 18, 2005, 11:02 AM
I am sure we will in time, Rafiq.

But keep in mind that we did try to accelarate the run rate after the first session. And lost Bashar, Ashraful, and Aftab in short order -- our major strokeplayers. I am not blaming them for getting out -- that sort of misfortune happens (maybe more for us than other teams). But by then, we had lost our middle order, and had no choice but to play defensively again.

AsifTheManRahman
January 18, 2005, 11:02 AM
I agree that we should have gone for the win. However, who cares - we won our first series! :)

AsifTheManRahman
January 18, 2005, 11:04 AM
i believe that playing our natural game would have brought us the win and an additional landmark - washing our opponents with white paint for the first time (do i sound like baksho b hai yet?;))

oracle
January 18, 2005, 11:04 AM
great article-


off topic but what is a sufi cafe- for people like me residing in rural jersey.:)

rafiq
January 18, 2005, 11:05 AM
Shaad, it was too late when we tried to accelerate. Steady progress would have been safer, sudden acceleration leads to more wickets going down, as it did. My thought is the opportunity was there only in the first session, whatever happened later was inconsequential to the result - it was over by then.

Ejaj
January 18, 2005, 11:06 AM
Althought, i didnt get the oppertunity watch the match, but from the forum and newspapers, i felt that.. Bangladesh did have a chance to finish the test with a win. But, I just feel that.. Its alawys very nice to go more smooth than.. having success comming quickly. BD players did play with lots of Guts to suvive for 1.75 days on the creeze with a pressuse to loose the match on the head. So, there is defitely someting positive things about this and may be, this experience will later help the team to fight bigger teams under tough condition. About Nafees, I had been the admirer of him since 2000 when many of this present team players played in an Under 19 Tournament against India , pakistan and Srilanka. I always wondered, why isnt he getting the chance to play for the team. BUt, I guess, he is brought into the light in the right time. I am really hopeful that In the comming years lot of thigs will come out from these yound players like Aftab, Mashrafi, Enamul.

rafiq
January 18, 2005, 11:07 AM
actually it was just a college town cafe owned by some "white people" Sufis. I was told they donate some proceeds to orphanages in Bangladesh.

shaad
January 18, 2005, 11:10 AM
Rafiq, I'd agree with you if our middle order had shown more consistency in the past. I know Nafis isn't a bad strokeplayer, but given our frequent middle order collapses, I didn't want him to try anything too risky in the first session.

DotBall
January 18, 2005, 12:00 PM
Congratulations to BD team for winning the seriese. :up:

Rafiq, I agree with you that it was a game that one team could have won, but I think what our team did was the best approach for us on the 5th day. We are a young team and with most unfavorable stats on our side. We already won our 1st ever test this series and a draw on 2nd test was going to give us the series.

1st innings we showed our traditional batting immaturity as usual and gave the game away to Zimbabwe (1st inning). That put us on the back foot. In 2nd inning Zim went on to score 286 and that itself was not a success for our bowlers when we could have gotten them out less than 150.

I want point out few things that justifies our decision to go for draw.

1. Highly unstable batting performance history
2. Never chased a target in the 4th inning
3. In the history of test cricket it was done only 5 times (I could be wrong, but it is definitely not more than 5)
4. We could not afford to loose to Zim (we were literally playing their A team)
5. Winning the series means a lot to us to keep up the momentum. Can you imagine how the BD fans and rest of the world critics would have bomb-barded on our team with harsh criticism and players would have gone back to that frustrating stage of failure and disappointment.

Even after playing so slow our batsmen tried to up the tempo right after lunch and they were not successful at all (we lost 3 quick wkts). In the future I hope our batsmen can take the 374 challenge over day and half to play, but until then we need to keep the momentum of winning not loosing even if comes with few draws. Our team has reached some important milestone and achieved few world records and thatís what we need to build on. We will achieve more in future and it will not happen at once rather over many tries.

pagol-chagol
January 18, 2005, 12:15 PM
I am as proud of this draw as I would have been with a win.

I think our batsmen have learnt more from this draw than they would have learnt in several wins.

This was a special game . Unfortunately, most people won't agree with me.

mustafiz
January 18, 2005, 01:43 PM
Congrats to the Bangladesh cricket team for the series win! It is great to see that the players stuck to the game plan and fought it out in the middle. If we continue this way, more good things are sure to come.

Sure, it would've been nice to win this test. However, I'll take a Cricinfo title of "Iqbal ensures historic series win" over something like "Bangladesh collapses to an understrength Zimbabwe team full of teenagers" any day!

Originally posted by rafiq
To get 2.0-2.5, you don't have to go fishing outside the offstump or throw away your wicket. You don't have to take undue risk. You just take a few singles through the gaps instead of blocking away the whole session, and you occasionally punish the many bad balls that were offered.


The above strategy would have been the right one to follow if we had the players to execute it. Finding gaps, taking singles, rotating the strike, etc. are not our strong suit yet. We are making good progress though. Hopefully in a couple of years.

Beamer
January 18, 2005, 02:06 PM
I really think that they were moving along a pre-set plan, which was to survive till lunch without any wkts.

They almost accomplished it with Javed falling before the stroke of the lunch. Their next plan was to accelerate in the post lunch session and asses the situation from there on. Nafis, immediately after lunch stepped out and hit Cremer for a four and few runs in the middle. Then, Shumon played in the air and got himself out. Good bowling by Panyangara during those critical moments. He dried the runs out. They bowled a lot of balls on the leg stump with a field set for it. Shumon, never could break free and got out after playing 29 balls.

Then, Ash came, scored 3 of 3 and got out to a great delivery. Change of plans after that. They did the right thing from then on and made sure no wkts fell. Runs dried up as well.

After tea, losing Nafis and Aftab immediately had to put a stop to any more adventures. Case closed. From then on, it was all about making sure we get a draw. I do not believe that we played for a draw. Our intention after lunch was clear but circumstances prohibited the following proceddings...

oracle
January 18, 2005, 02:14 PM
I really think that they were moving along a pre-set plan, which was to survive till lunch without any wkts


thanks.. searching all morning for the right words...you put my thoughts into what I wanted to say- that Bangladesh were playing to a plan and for the first time the script was followed. The plan also included the possibility for a win- so i really cannot buy the negative cricket allegations.

It also puts into persepective Dave's comments about the satisfaction of a draw.

Edited on, January 18, 2005, 7:16 PM GMT, by oracle.

rafiq
January 18, 2005, 05:31 PM
Beamer, I totally agree with your assessment of what happened after lunch. That's how things played out. And it actually underlines my humble point that it was the morning that was the most critical - just a few more runs would have given us the breathing room we needed later when some wickets would inevitably fall. And to get those extra runs in the morning, we did not need to do anything risky or special - that is probably the main point I am trying to make.

Anyway, it's done!

Maximillian
January 18, 2005, 05:39 PM
And to get those extra runs in the morning, we did not need to do anything risky or special


How sure are we of this ?

I think if the BD team got some mental practice instead of a lame victory (It has been already established that BD is superior to Zims), that would be potentially more beneficial in the long run.

I am happy that they,

1) Had a plan
2) Executed the plan

pagol-chagol
January 18, 2005, 05:56 PM
Originally posted by rafiq
Beamer, I totally agree with your assessment of what happened after lunch. That's how things played out. And it actually underlines my humble point that it was the morning that was the most critical - just a few more runs would have given us the breathing room we needed later when some wickets would inevitably fall. And to get those extra runs in the morning, we did not need to do anything risky or special - that is probably the main point I am trying to make.

Anyway, it's done!

Actually, if we had 20 more runs in the first session, Bashar, Ashraful and Aftab probably would have been out exactly the same way as they were. Nothing would have changed except +20 in the total runs.

I think Whatmore hit the nail on the head. The long term impact of the way we have drawn this match is much bigger than a win.

sham1980
January 18, 2005, 06:00 PM
Congratulations to our beloved Bangladesh, I am objecting to those who are saying that we played negative and did not chase 374 to win. Full credit to our team, well done keep this up and more win's will come our way I am looking forward to us playing in England and all I am looking for is a good performance.

I think all played well I only feel sorry for ashraful and Aftab.

Well done.