Bangladesh v West Indies, 1st Test, Mirpur November 18, 2012

The same old story for Bangladesh

As long as Bangladesh lack belief in themselves and seem satisfied with limited success, fortunes are unlikely to change

Bangladesh's stumble at the penultimate hurdle in Mirpur has brought into focus their mindset while on the verge of a major outcome. The defeat drew attention to a subconscious lack of belief in their own abilities and apparent satisfaction with limited goals after a period of positive cricket. This is more likely to test them in the last two sessions of a Test, but the team must realise quickly that taking the game into the fifth day alone does not constitute an achievement.

Bangladesh's approach was confusing from the outset in the chase. They were slow off the blocks and lost early wickets. They lost five wickets in the two hours after lunch, which left them having too much to do in the final session. They batted at a tepid pace, and seemed daunted by the prospect of surviving 70-odd overs or even winning a Test. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim said their plan was to keep six wickets in hand in the final session to win. At no stage during the innings, in which they lost wickets regularly, did the team think of playing for a draw.

Bangladesh bat deep and had as many as eight batsmen. They reached their highest Test score in the first innings, but should have been more useful in the second. They lacked imagination in the chase and the will to bat it out, with only Mahmudullah showing some determination in the last hour of the match.

Mushfiqur also pointed to the lack of experience in the fourth innings as one of the causes for the defeat. The last Bangladesh were set a target under 300, they beat a weakened West Indies in 2009. The quality of the bowling attack was better in Mirpur, but what matters is a winning approach and, in Tests, Bangladesh haven't developed one yet.

In the one-dayers, Bangladesh have chased quite well, but, again, there hasn't been consistency. They lost to Pakistan in the Asia Cup final, chasing a total lower than the one they overhauled against India, and with a less-demanding asking-rate than they faced against Sri Lanka. The occasion gets to them.

Five batsmen scored more than 50 in Bangladesh's first innings, but none went past 30 in the second. There's been a trend of Bangladesh batsmen not building on a positive start to the series, and that doesn't augur well for the next Test in Khulna. Only once has a Bangladesh batsman scored more than 300 runs in a series.

Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan, the team's two best players, could be blamed for not contributing when it mattered. But what about the responsibility of others in the event the duo fails?

Once the game was over, Mushfiqur said the concern ahead of the Test was to last the five days. Taking the game into the final day seemed to be the key for a team playing it's first Test this year. The ICC president Alan Isaac cited the example of New Zealand, saying the team could play more Tests against the better-ranked teams if it performed more often against them. It seems a vicious cycle for Bangladesh, because they play so few Tests, and are unlikely to get more opportunities if they perform only every once in a while.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Bangladesh

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jonny on November 21, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    @Meety:- Totally agree with you! I've seen your viewpoints all over Cricinfo proper Cricket fan you are but the key things is that weaker Cricket teams have the ability to climb up if they were given the same opportunities as to the higher ranked nations. If you take Bangladesh's example, they had full status in 2000 so its obvious why they're the underdogs in Test Cricket but we all know times are always changing. I agree Bangladesh should've progressed a lot more in Cricket but you know what off-field issues are like which drags unfortunately Bangladesh. If we can sort that out then Bangladesh will no doubt rise dramatically in Cricket but the important thing is that they are going upwards rather than downwards. The talent is there in Bangladesh their youth system and record is proof of that but its behind the scenes which lags us back but really hope this is sorted soon so we can see another serious Cricketing contender.

  • Sami on November 21, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    @Lord_Legal - Bangladesh are here to stay mate even if they continue to lose many more matches but one thing we can agree on is that the future is hard to predict no doubt about that cheers :P

  • Joe on November 21, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    @Lord_Dravid - I agree with you that even though many fans want lower ranked teams like Bangladesh to do well realistically they're a long way off from winning test matches but in limited overs they are fine now. But if you are talking about their today's performance, think you spoke way too soon :D

  • Andrew on November 21, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    Bangladesh has had barely one generation of cricketers come thru their system & people want to bag them? That's pathetic. In half a generation, they have uncovered Shakib as a world class talent, & have good Test players in Rahim & Tamim. They have a bunch of other players who have the talent - but not yet the experience & conditioning to step to the next level. I believe that within 5 years, Bangladesh will be a difficult team to beat in Tests at home & they will knock off some big names in the future. Most of the players are under 26yrs old.

  • Hira on November 21, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    Yet again i hear bangladesh lose yet another match lol i've always said bangladesh maybe can only compete with the associates in 4 day matches.

  • sadequl on November 20, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    Just a comparison why editor's comment is so perfect in here, "The same old story for Bangladesh". Debut test match for Bangladesh : 10,11,12,13 November 2000. Bangladesh 1st innings - 400 runs & all out. India 1st innings - 429 runs & all out. Bangladesh 2nd innings - 91 runs & all out. India 2nd innings - 64 runs with 1 wicket loss & India won by 9 wickets & after 12 years in test arena - 13,14,15,16,17 November 2012. West Indies 1st innings - 527 runs with 4 wickets & D. Bangladesh 1st innings - 556 runs & all out. West Indies 2nd innings - 273 runs & all out. Bangladesh 2nd innings - 167 runs & all out & West Indies won by 77 runs.

  • Partish on November 19, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    Bangladesh's problems are manifold -1) Lack of a proper domestic structure- eg nothing to compare with other test plaing nations 2) mental conditioning of players eg - too fragile under pressure time and again 3) limited goals/aspirations - eg happy with 1st inngs score and taking the game to day 5 - bottomline u still lost 4) the normal bangladeshi supporter is very understanding and forgiving to poor performance eg - In Ind & Pak cricketers get a lot of flak for poor perf - both media and people 5) the core group of players are not consistent enough eg - Tamim & Mushfiqur 6) continuing to support sub obtimal talent -eg Shahadat Hossein bowl Avg is 50+ (if stare and grunt could take wkts then he would have taken 1000 wkts and already been a legend) and Mohd Ashraful batting avg is 20+ (lets not even get into the number of matches he has already played for BD). Finally Shakib is a real talent - only consistent player for BD. but you hardly win any games of cricket with one player...

  • RAHUL on November 19, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    Replace Shariar with Anamul or Mominul.

  • Shiv on November 19, 2012, 19:44 GMT

    I think that the BCB should work with BCCI in opening the gates for BD players into Indian domestic teams. Have them play in Ranji, Duleep trophies.

  • Arun on November 19, 2012, 19:42 GMT

    To add to my previous post, Ban should do what many experts have stated. 1) Play A sides or domestic cricket champs of test playing nations home and away to get confidence. Sure, this means you have to swallow your pride a bit, but it's worth it. 2) Acknowledge your weaknesses (goto point 1). 3) Fix the domestic structure to have competitive sides playing on competitive wickets. BD has a large market (unlike say Zim or NZ) that can be used to make BD cricket profitable, if only their team would perform. BD fans have to be convinced that their side has a 10% chance of winning, and an honest fan will acknowledge that the odds of BD winning a test against a full-strength test side (you know what happened in the last WI series) is infinitesimal. They may win individual sessions, but currently lack the ability to sustain pressure over 15 potential sessions.

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