Bangladesh v England, 1st ODI, Dhaka February 28, 2010

Tamim shows both teams the way

The Bangladesh opener produced a wonderful 125 but couldn't find support from his team-mates, while England continue their quest to find a similarly destructive opener

An England tour of Bangladesh was always likely to present something of a culture clash, but what took place in the first ODI at Mirpur captured in a nutshell the strengths, the weaknesses and the seemingly irrevocable character flaws of two teams whose records in one-day cricket are distinctly average, but whose problems could scarcely be more polarised.

All the talk in England's build-up to the series was the need to inject some oomph to their top-order and after trials and fails for Jonathan Trott and Joe Denly, among others, today it was Craig Kieswetter's turn to have a crack. All the talk in Bangladesh's build-up, on the other hand, revolved around the need to apply a dose of wisdom to their young and exuberant line-up. And though the 20-year-old Tamim Iqbal stepped up to produce arguably the most mature performance of his life, his colleagues faltered when a formidable total was there for the taking.

Tamim's 125 from 120 balls deserved to be the decisive innings of the night. Instead, that honour went to England's old faithful, Paul Collingwood, a player too long in the tooth to let circumstance unhinge his modus operandi. He chiselled and chivvied to 75 not out from 100 balls, an innings that consisted almost entirely of bottom-handed shovels through midwicket, as calm experience got the better of youthful enterprise - a sadly familiar scenario for Bangladesh's cricketers.

In the absence of an X-factor, England fell back on their traditional strength of crease occupation, and Collingwood's innings followed directly on from that of Alastair Cook, whose accumulatory 64 proved eerily reminiscent of the man he has replaced at the top of team-sheet, Andrew Strauss. Meanwhile, as if to prove that England are more adept at producing tortoises than hares, Kieswetter could have been dismissed twice in his first over of international cricket, before being outscored 4 to 1 by his supposedly plod-along skipper. But at least he's through the first-night nerves.

Unlike England, belting the cover off a cricket ball has never been a problem for Bangladesh. It's been their stock-in-trade ever since Akram Khan bludgeoned them to the 1997 ICC Trophy title, and that stand-and-deliver style has always stood his nephew, Tamim, in fine stead - particularly during that seminal innings at the 2007 World Cup, when, as a 17-year-old in his fifth international outing, he flat-batted Zaheer Khan over long-on for six, en route to ushering India to a humiliating early exit from the tournament.

Jamie Siddons, Bangladesh's coach, said before this match that he wasn't interested in results, merely performances, but with a bit of support, Tamim's effort could so easily have qualified as both. He began with his customary bang, as he walloped eight fours and two sixes in a 32-ball half-century, but then settled back into a holding pattern that might have been planned had it not been demanded, as the boys at the opposite end got giddy at the sight of a seven-runs-per-over scoreline.

All Tamim really needed was a man to hang around while he picked off the bad balls - and there were plenty from an England attack who know how to bowl on the subcontinent, but seemed to have mislaid the notes that Stuart Broad claimed to have taken during their win in Sri Lanka in 2007. Instead, after Imrul Kayes had been cleverly suckered by the slower ball to give England a much-needed breakthrough at 63 for 1 after nine, the middle-order subsided with the sort of naivety that has coloured Bangladesh's cricket for a decade.

Junaid Siddique's second-ball dismissal was soft, while Aftab Ahmed's natural aggression was stymied by a sharp run-out, but the shortcomings of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim were especially disappointing. Captain and vice-captain both know how to pace an innings - remember, they each made measured fifties after Tamim's onslaught against India - and neither man had any need to panic, with Bangladesh's run-rate steady at five an over going into the doldrum period.

But Shakib aimed a wild swipe at Graeme Swann, and would have been stumped had he not been caught behind, while Mushfiqur belied his reputation as Bangladesh's calmest accumulator by performing a Kevin Pietersen Red Bull run to short cover. And after that, the momentum proved too hard to reclaim. Well though their spinners performed in reply, a sizeable Mirpur crowd began to drain towards the exits long before the end - no doubt in a vain bid to beat the traffic.

Nevertheless, it was a marker of the sort that Bangladesh have never really managed to produce in eight previous ODIs against England, save in the 2005 NatWest Series when Mohammad Ashraful went ballistic at Trent Bridge for a 52-ball 94. That innings, however, was in response to England's unreachable total of 391 for 4. If today's effort proved anything, it is that the gulf is nowhere near as wide as it was on that trip, and that when it comes to powerhitting, England are still searching for the answers that Tamim has in abundance.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. Go to to follow him on Twitter through the England tour of Bangladesh.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Malik on March 2, 2010, 17:35 GMT

    I am a bangladeshi fan and I don't think cooments such as Tamim breaking Tendulkar's record should be dignified with a response. These are probably just comments form overenthusiatic fans who are happy to see someone from their team performing so well.

  • Suj on March 2, 2010, 2:11 GMT

    at i_amVIVA :

    Like I said I am a neutral cricket fan ... You don't seem to understand my point. If Tendulkar had been compared to Sir Don or Sir Viv a couple of years into his cricketing career and people had said he would have gone onto score the 1st ever odi double century and would one day hold the record for highest runs in both formats plus highest no. of 100's in both formats I would have said the same thing. A ridiculous comparison was made and I obviously criticized it! Sorry you took offense. But the same was said about Ashraful and you can see where he has ended up!

  • Paul on March 2, 2010, 0:14 GMT

    Bangladesh look about the most exciting prospect in cricket today. If two or three of the best players fire at once they will be brilliant. Keep going

  • nipo on March 1, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    I do understand the limit of people's patience, but hey India achieved its first ever Test victory in 1951-52 when it beat England in Madras. Having made its Test debut in 1932, India had to wait for 20 long years in the sidelines before making its mark in the big stage, SO give our team a break. Jemie Siddons is a great coach and I like his plan/idea of getting just the individual performances out of most players and not care about wins just about now. That way the next step would be putting it all together. No one should have any doubt about the talent of the youngest team in the world. Tamim, sakib, Mortaza, Ashraful, Razzak are all world class players. While I am dissapointed a bit with ashraful (he has been leveled as one of the most talented young bloods in world cricket, but for a mysterious reason he has yet to transform his potential), Tamim Iqbal is heck of a batsman. According to many commentators he is already one of the most destructive batsmen on the planet.So let's wait.

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2010, 15:16 GMT

    Please Mr Siddons ... junaid will have to been sacked from the squad. There are some good players in pipe line such as Asif ahmed, Farhad Hossain, and Shuvo can easily include the eleven replace of Aftab ahmed, Naeem should be played in 3 No. position, after all he is a promising batsman. Also Mushiq can play as a batsman, not as a wicket keeper.....................

  • M.G. on March 1, 2010, 12:57 GMT

    good to see tamim playing good knocks in good form lately, congrats. like most said, we need team playing, only then success will come; these little lads need to learn that sooner than being exhausted like ash... definitely bang needs at least a good domestic club/ infrastructure throughout the country, but merely the dhaka based cricket competition of the local elites.

    Abaa: just to remind you that the little master sachin was just a little boy coming in the big league 20 years ago, although i dont possess the same belief in that comment yet that you responded so sarcastically. but again, who knows... just amazed to see your negativity to little clubs like bang, including your sl.

    AbiJacob: same comments as above... the little master sachin was just a little boy coming in the big league 20 years ago, although i dont possess the same belief in that comment yet that you responded so sarcastically.

  • Suj on March 1, 2010, 8:48 GMT

    not even a week since sachin scored a double hundred after 40 years of ODI's and now every Tom, Dick and Harry is supposed to emulate that ??? Don't mistake me for a fan of India ... I am merely a neutral person who finds it highly amusing that anyone can compare this kid with Sachin . I'm from SriLanka and I will definitely admit that our country is yet to produce a pure masterclass like Tendulkar and that is after seeing the likes of Aravinda (my personal favourite), Jayawardena, Sangakkara et all ! Maybe he will lead Bangladesh cricket most certainly I too wish he doesnt end up being a could have been like Ashraful ! But even if he scores a one day TRIPLE HUNDRED he can't be compared to the little master ! Cheers

  • Mahamudul on March 1, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    Great innings by Tamim.Indeed a great one.Waiting for upcoming matches.

  • Dre on March 1, 2010, 3:35 GMT

    I think a point was mentioned on the Switch Hit Show or one of those panel discussion that Bangladesh was rushed into top tier cricket without ICC ensuring that a solid First Class set up was in place to ensure progress. It's been almost the same story for 10 yrs I'm afraid. This time Bangladesh have a crop of 3-4 better or more naturally gifted players than the original set but still just haven't learned to win as a team. The whole, young, inexperience blah blah stuff is getting old and is now less excusable with Afghanistan and to a lesser extent Ire (who keep losing their best players to Eng) pulling off improbable TEAM wins. It will be double standard if Ire don't get test status (need good club structure) The same panel was right, rather than ICC spending so much trying to crack U.S. n China, they need to build up CLUB cricket in Bang, Afghan, Ire etc. Tamim and Shakib are WONDERFUL TALENTS and they need a system that will help Bang build a team around them b-4 they fade!

  • babla on March 1, 2010, 3:19 GMT

    Congratulations to Tamim Iqbal .Insallah we will be there very soon.just we need ' TEAM BANGLADESH PERFORMS'.we all are with our tiger's. GO BANGLADESH GO.

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