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Old June 6, 2010, 03:25 PM
1137moiz 1137moiz is offline
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Join Date: February 11, 2010
Posts: 29
Default Match Postscript (Cricdb Blog)


It’s not the losing that counts…
by Ibrahim Moiz on June 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm
…It’s the way a match is lost that hurts. This being the sad message to Bangladesh after their woeful capitulation at Old Trafford. After having wowed English audiences with some fearless performances both at home and away, and converted more than one skeptic, Bangladesh fell flat so quickly in the last two sessions of this second Test that much of their serene progress over the last season will come under question.

The match was, indeed, Bangladesh at its sparkling best and its flimsy worst. Tamim Iqbal has had a ball against England in the last three months. He is a cricketer with an eye for the big stage, and though Australia or South Africa may have something to say about it, playing in England, birthplace of the game, is generally viewed as the stage for a cricketer. His innings against England this year have included 86, 85, 52, 55, 103, and 108, in the space of four Tests. It’s been attacking cricket at its best: in 590 balls he’s lashed 495 runs, with 67 fours and five sixes. At no point has he appeared fazed by the task of leading a weak nation; as he casually remarked after the match, the difference between him and his teammates is that he simply works harder.

Bangladesh, who recently were accused by Virender Sehwag of lacking the firepower to take 20 wickets in a match, contrived to lose as many in the space of two sessions. The first defeat was an honourable one; this one, to the subcontinent’s only country that puts a premium on the longest format of the game, will hurt, as will no doubt increasing questions over their Test status.

It would be tempting to term Bangladesh a one-man team after the dismal Manchester performance, but it would be grossly unfair. Yes, they batted shockingly, especially given the mouth-watering opening platform, but if one looks back to before the England rubbers it had been the middle order, comprising the very culprits of today’s batting travesty, that had regularly pulled Bangladesh out of trouble, players like Shakib-al-Hasan, Mahmudullah Riaz and Mushfiqur Rahim doing most of the hard work. Junaid Siddique has improved in both temperament and technique recently, and it would be unfair and unwise to drop Jahurul Islam for one poor match. One player who almost certainly will suffer is Mohammad Ashraful, the most talented but most infuriating of players.

The bowling definitely lacks an edge, though. Shahadat Hossain, with his exertion-filled bursts, is talented but perhaps inevitably inconsistent. Rubel Hossain and Shafiul Islam both bowled well in stints but need grooming. It’s not just the seamers, either; Shakib, who underbowls Mahmudullah and overbowls Abdur Razzak, is left to drag a lagging spin squadron along. Mahmudullah, in addition, probably merits a position a couple of places up the order, while Abdur Razzak is a handy one-day veteran but not quite suited to Test cricket.

One thing is almost certain; if Bangladesh are to maintain some degree of consistency–and this match aside, they have been laudably consistent in the last season, despite a bare cupboard to show for it–they need not only more match practice against top-flight teams, but, as Bengal tiger Tamim has shown, a fighting mentality and a lot of hard work.
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