England v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Chittagong, 1st day

Bangladesh pay the price for negativity

Andrew Miller in Chittagong

March 12, 2010

Comments: 24 | Text size: A | A

Winning the toss was about as good as it got for Shakib al Hasan on the first day of the Test, Bangladesh v England, 1st Test, Chittagong, March 12, 2010
Right call, wrong decision: Winning the toss was about as good as it got for Shakib al Hasan today © Getty Images
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Nobody in their right minds expected this Test series to be competitive, despite the undoubted strides that Bangladesh have made in recent months, but the chasm that opened up on the first day at Chittagong was thoroughly and abjectly depressing.

All tour long, Bangladesh have talked a good talk and they even fought a good fight during the one-dayers, never more impressively than during the second match at Dhaka, when only a super-focussed Eoin Morgan stood between them and an historic result. But today every ounce of bravado deserted them - with the ball, in the field, but most crucially of all, in the demeanours of the two most combative characters in their camp.

Jamie Siddons and Shakib Al Hasan have been up and at England since the very start of the tour. It was Siddons who declared that his team intended to "bite England on the bum" after their decision to give Andrew Strauss a sabbatical, and while Shakib has let his cricket do most of the talking, he hasn't been afraid to sound off when prompted, such as his declaration after Dhaka that Bangladesh were more interested in taking on the big guns of one-day cricket, rather than fret about England's mediocre middle-rankers.

It's been refreshing, to be honest, to hear the small fry talking big, even when what they've been saying hasn't quite stacked up in the final analysis. After all, confidence begets confidence, as Kevin Pietersen knows only too well. But today Bangladesh's words and deeds were completely polarised by the reality that slipped in between them, and nothing reeked more of surrender than their decision to pack their team with spinners, and then bowl first on a shirt-front.

"We thought we knew a bit about the Chittagong wicket, and we thought that it would spin on day one, and get flatter and flatter like it has in the past," said Siddons. "In hindsight it was probably a bad decision." But seeing as England had taken their gift-horse at face value and clattered along to 374 for 3 at the close, hindsight wasn't really the most pressing of their problems.

Of far greater importance would have been a bit of foresight, a bit of conventional wisdom, and a nod to the small matters of pride and body language - all of these factors surely demanded that Bangladesh front up and play the game according to Siddons' often-mentioned "team rules". As they showed at times during the one-dayers, the team has the ability to bat calmly and assuredly against an England attack that, in the coach's own words, had not penetrated them to any great effect. By doing so, they could have set a platform for their spinners to attack.

Of course that policy could easily have gone wrong - it goes without saying, this is Bangladesh and they have a record of L55, W3. But at least by doing so, they might have spared themselves the "what ifs". Instead, the impression was of a team that had pulled its punches (just as they did in this same city when England last visited six years ago) and Siddons looked like the public the face of a broken dressing-room when he fronted up on behalf of his players in the post-match press conference.

On the one hand Siddons blamed the pitch for failing to meet his ambitious expectations - and while it is true that, back in January, India were skittled here for 243 after being asked to bat first (with Shakib claiming 5 for 62), the X-factor in that performance had been Virender Sehwag's dismissal of Bangladesh as "ordinary" and the righteous indignation that his comments had fuelled.

There was no such whiff of cordite in the air today, only the vaguest ripple of interest in a disappointingly sparse crowd, and the team reacted to the atmosphere accordingly, with Shakib's own return a mute 21-2-80-0. That said, it was hardly necessary for Siddons to trot out quite such a list of disclaimers afterwards, as he managed to shrug every ounce of blame onto the shoulders of the boys he professes to be nurturing.

His fast bowlers, he said, "had let the team down"; his left-arm-spinning captain, he said, had been the one who wanted to bowl first ("and I'll be supportive of [him]"), and suddenly his "world-class" four-man spin attack had been downgraded to "two genuine spinners and two part-time offies". As support acts go, it was about as comforting as Duncan Fletcher's declaration that he "wasn't the only selector" on England's disastrous Ashes campaign in 2006-07, except in Siddons' case he didn't bother to couch his criticisms in code.

"Our strength is our spin, so it didn't matter whether we bowled first or second," he added, incongruously. "Our quicks weren't going to be the answer on that pitch, and won't be throughout the game, they won't play a massive part." A statement which begs the question, did they even try to exploit the moisture in the first half-an-hour, or wasn't that even taken into consideration?

"We've probably put ourselves out of the game, which we tend to do a lot on the first day or the first session of a game, unless we bowl terrifically in the morning, and even then we'll have to bat the house down," Siddons concluded. "I expect them to make somewhere around 500, and that's if we bowl well. It's been a difficult day, and only one team can win."

In all honesty, only one team has ever been likely to win this match and this series from the moment the tour began. But as Siddons himself has declared at length all month, his tenure is not about victories, it's about making visible signs of progress. Today, however, Bangladesh were in full retreat before the match referee had retrieved his coin.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. Go to http://twitter.com/miller_cricket to follow him on Twitter through the England tour of Bangladesh.

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Chanachur on (March 14, 2010, 9:37 GMT)

Bangladesh has all the weapons in stock; but the management suck. JS is taking his money and vacation and doing nothing but destroying the team built by Dave Whatmore. Along with the other management guys he has dumped performers like Rafique, Habibul Bashar and Khaled Mashud. These players have shown time to time what they are capable of; but putting everything together is the duty of the management.

Posted by tanvir_alam on (March 13, 2010, 7:31 GMT)

well done Sakib al Hasan.. really ur fast bowing attack is mind blowing. what a fantastic fast bowing attack.. Thanks Sakib bez u prove very well that who is MASHRAFI BIN MURTUZA & how much important cricketer he is for Bangladesh.. but u said that u don't want Mashrafi... but now I think Bangladesh want change the captain....

Posted by ssrahman6 on (March 13, 2010, 7:19 GMT)

"It was wrong for Sehwag to call Bangladesh an ordinary team. They're much worse than that." commenter by TheDoctor394. Its not the proper comment by TheDoctor394. Sometimes big teams are performing much worse then that. i admitted that bd cricket team should perform much supirior than currently. remember, the last 2 ODI, bangladesh were suffered by terrible umpiring. otherwise, england would have probally lost the serious. other, its a forst day pitch in test match. moreover, it doesn't offer anything to any bowler. lets see how well england will bowl. may be for you england would ordinary in this test match.so be careful when you make any irrational comments.

Posted by AmeyaCricket on (March 13, 2010, 6:38 GMT)

Bangladesh is an ordinary side who had one good day on the first day of the test match against India. Otherwise Bangladesh do not even come close to drawing a match at home, loosing matches left, right and centre.

Posted by rsmehdihasan on (March 13, 2010, 6:26 GMT)

wait ,,,,have a patience ...still Bangladesh has to bat.. if you don't have energy to Watch test match than watch IPL or Australia vs NewZealand (is that more competitive? Australia is winning easily!!!)

Posted by TheDoctor394 on (March 13, 2010, 5:33 GMT)

Bandor... While I'm not saying players should just go around condemning teams (in any sport) all the time, I do tire of this "nice" kind of "oh they're a great side" talk when that side hasn't won for two years (as an example). Say it like it is, and I'm bewildered by all the complaint about Sehwag's comment. I'd love to see Bangladesh become a strong Test playing nation. I hope they do. But right now, they're not. They are ordinary (at best), and full marks to Sehwag for talking like a human being, not a robot.

Posted by bagh_mama on (March 13, 2010, 2:52 GMT)

We "Bangladeshi supporters" are very unstable. We "support" the team only when they play well. I disagree with most of the comments above. Thanks to _NEUTRAL_Fan_ for having a matured reaction.

All I can see is, Bangladesh had a bad day. They are a stronger side than us. Also, the toss is not captains decision alone. Please stop the mob mentality. If you are losing patience, and think that Bangladesh should quit test cricket, good for you and bad for cricket. Cricket needs teams like Bangladesh more, than Bangladesh needs cricket. Bangladesh do need to fix lot of behind the scene problems, but its not the teams fault. Bash the board. Support the team.

Posted by bandor on (March 13, 2010, 2:25 GMT)

@doctor***, shewag saying bangladeshi team ordinary is more on the side of decency not on technocracy. But again for how many decades shewag's team playing test cricket? What are that teams result abroad? Simple answer, perennial loosers. Should not shewag and his fans add a foot note that our team too ordinary outside custom built, host batsmen tailored peaches of subcontinent. Last but not least did not shewag's team scored 213 or 8 just the day after saying ordinary. Not enough shame for such a gaffe. Cricket is gentlemen's game. Some of the comments purely cross that line, players and fanatic fans alike. For such elitist, purist, strict dress coded, colonial approach of cricket players, fans, and administrators criket has yet to gain admission to olympic where unknown games are regular features.

Posted by TheDoctor394 on (March 12, 2010, 23:26 GMT)

It was wrong for Sehwag to call Bangladesh an ordinary team. They're much worse than that.

Posted by   on (March 12, 2010, 22:47 GMT)

Do we REALLY think Ireland would perform worse than this shower? And that's without the incredible amount of funding Bangladesh receive... You either expand test cricket purely on merit or you leave it to the reserve of the truly elite sides.

Posted by LeTsGoTigeRs on (March 12, 2010, 22:29 GMT)

what a stupid bangladeshi captain sakib...do you know how to read the pitch?are you scared to face british pace attack? are they scared to face your spin attack ?? answer is not at all they are much smarter than you guys.just for your stupid decision bangladesh is going through another innings defeat its just matter of time.winning a toss vital thing and you won the toss and lose that opportunity what a loser i can't believe it.if you can't handle the pressure of captaincy then quit it its a major mistake,you should pay for it you can't mistake again and again.

Posted by ZsZs on (March 12, 2010, 22:19 GMT)

I am disgusted with the decision to bat first. Why did the tiger-cubs bother to show up? I watch from USA, and would have stayed up until 5 AM to watch. I lost interest, shut it off and did the right thing, gone to sleep. The tiger-cubs should have done the same... oh wait they did. At least fight! Bangladesh, I am sad to say, has shown their true colors today. With the three day match being played by England, at the venue; England might as well be the home team. As they were 250 years ago. Shameless, spineless response from the Bangladeshi brothers. As they say, you can't choose family. I hope Cook goes on to beat Lara's record. He can, and my prayers are with him. 401* cook, end of day 2.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (March 12, 2010, 21:28 GMT)

Sigh. BCB and ICC need to realise that whilst Bang do have talented cricketers, they 1st need to be nurtured at an IMPROVED CLUB level. Because their club level can't do it, they're forced to nurture them at test level. In other words, this current side have to be PERSISTED WITH for several yrs b-4 they reach test standard. Chopping and changing will do no difference! Their fielding in my opinion has gone BACK-WARD. Surely they can address that. It makes you wonder if victories vs 3rd string W.I. and Zim had lulled their intensity just when their confidence had increased. Bar Pakistan, sub-continental teams bowling has never been strong so to see Bang batting improve 1st is no surprise and hopefully they will be more keen to hasten overall improvement rather than accept every small step as a big thing. Right Mr. Siddons? Eng however only fielding 4 bowlers should give Bang talented batsmen a real chance to fight back. Let's hope they do

Posted by DocBindra on (March 12, 2010, 21:25 GMT)

I want to see everyone who seemed to get offended by Sehwag's comment about Bangladesh being an "ordinary" side, raise their hands...yeah, that is what I thought. 10+ years at the top level and what do they have to show for themselves? So, sporadically they actually show up, so what? It is an absolute travesty to consider this side as a TEST side. How are they any different than a decimated Zimbabwe side? Atleast Zimbabwe has an excuse, what is Bangladesh's excuse? Bangladesh just plain QUIT, that is inexcusable. Shame on them, why did Shakib field first? Scared to bat first I suppose...I think Bangladesh don't deserve Test Match Status.

Posted by ScriptWriter on (March 12, 2010, 21:13 GMT)

I think this is a harsh assessment of Bangladesh. For all their superiority, England could only manage a run rate of slightly above 4 on the placid pitches of the sub-continent. Remember second test at Eden? India practically maintained 5 an over throughout against a very high quality South African bowling attack. Of course, Bangladesh could have played better. But so could England.

Posted by EnayetT on (March 12, 2010, 20:48 GMT)

It is utterly disappointing to see the games, particularly the test matches the Bangladesh team play and they have been playing quite some years now. It is total waste of time and energy for the opponents playing against Bangladesh and also the viewers who likes to enjoy this game of cricket. I think the cricket community is doing a great disservice to this country and the nation by allowing them to play test matches. The country is spending good money on bad players/team/team management. Bangladesh should not be allowed to play first class test matches until they improve and show a fighting chance of winning against good teams. It is unfair to the game of cricket and to cricket community to say the least.

Posted by   on (March 12, 2010, 19:53 GMT)

Though it felt sad, what you say is mostly true. We talk. We brag. We don't even know we are stupid. I don't know when we will learn. But I still hope, and believe, that we will eventually come out matured. It is about culture, and it takes time, even generations, to form. I as a person and we as a nation do not value consistency: we seek more momentary flair than steady output. Then, how come we expect it grow in our player and team? We are not patient enough to give guys like Kapali, Razin Saleh chances: but waste years behind Ashraful. But in the end, I think we should believe in the team and see what they do in this test.

Posted by Bang_La on (March 12, 2010, 18:57 GMT)

Don't blame Shakib, he is a typical Bangladeshi when it comes to bosses. Plus the interference from the president. He already made Shakib kneel and begged apologies. Ask the coach what he has contributed in last four years. Andrew Miller is very right from the beginning (see commentary), its sheer negetavity and the coach's hiding of weaknesses of the team's batting. He didn't help boys improve or correct their faults.

Posted by mendicant on (March 12, 2010, 17:17 GMT)

There seems to be a lot going on in the dressing room and behind the scenes. Recent player departures (Raquibul, Mashrafee), jockeying between Siddons and Khaled Mahmud (who has all but declared himself ready to take over as coach), and of course the ususal incompetencies of the BCB and its selectors...all of this is another unwelcome twist to the Bangladesh cricket saga.

Posted by Bang_La on (March 12, 2010, 16:42 GMT)

Ah Andrew Miller, you are one rare speaking-out-my-heart-honestly Englishman, Thank YOU. I wrote elsewhere that its Siddons, of course, not Shakib did hide the batsmen from Finn Tower canon balls. Reason is also simple. In last 4 years, Mister Siddons did not put any visible input into the team so the younger and oh-not-so-talented side could stand up against Mammoths. If there is any big talk prize, it will sure go to Mister Siddons with gold ribbon. Well, so called BCB officals are English-language-challenged to talk with Mister Siddons and also lack the guts to put him into task :) Aas.

Its pure negativity, you are so right and thank YOU again.

Posted by ChairmanValvod on (March 12, 2010, 16:35 GMT)

There's nothing wrong in calling a spade a spade. Bangladesh are an incredibly "ordinary" side. They have now been a Test playing nation for over a decade. They are still horribly inept at top level cricket. Every now and then they show signs of life and talent in their cricket, but alas, it's really a tease. Shakib and Siddons should really, keep their assenine remarks, really to themselves. I mean, what exactly has Bangladesh done against top brass opposition for Siddons or Shakib to have that sort of arrogance? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Teams like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland, etc should not be granted Test status until it is absolutely certain that they have quality cricket to put on show. It's a demeaning prospect to the idea of Test cricket being the ultimate form, when you have glorified first class teams like Bnagladesh, Zimbabwe, the current WI's and Pakistan squads parading around as proper Test teams. Pathetic, is the one word that sums up Bangladesh cricket.

Posted by bandor on (March 12, 2010, 16:20 GMT)

I would have been surprised to see bangladesh doing better considering the circumstances in last couple of weeks. Right now the team has a super talkative, number 1 ODI all rounder as captain, who is talking rubbish in public about the proven campaigners like mashrafee and co. Board president is acting as the super selector. We stopped nurturing talents like alok, rajin, nazimuddin etc. Rafiq the proven performer had to retire for the politics of players and board. Every new coach comes start building from scratch. We progress some and take even more steps back. We select bowlers who can throw the ball faster. But forget that Akram, McGrath, Walsh, was not fastest of the bowlers. Likes of Mashrafee, a nururted rajib and swinger russel could more affective, before the likes of rubel or shaifuls are ready. Frustrating at best. But the cricket fraternity should stop crying for dropping bangladesh from test arena at every possible opportunity.

Posted by Farukafaj on (March 12, 2010, 15:42 GMT)

all blames go to Shakib.what a stupid decision to bowl first!!How Bangladesh will bat now, they will be tired after two days of fielding and collapse while batting.This is Bangladesh cricket.

Posted by HenWelder on (March 12, 2010, 15:22 GMT)

Very disappointing from the Tigers after the ODI's I had expected them to come out and fight in this test series. To call them lackluster would be a disservice they were abysmal in the field, which begs the question why do they have test match status.

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
Tour Results
Bangladesh v England at Dhaka - Mar 20-24, 2010
England won by 9 wickets
Bangladesh v England at Chittagong - Mar 12-16, 2010
England won by 181 runs
Bangladesh A v England XI at Chittagong - Mar 7-9, 2010
Match drawn
Bangladesh v England at Chittagong - Mar 5, 2010
England won by 45 runs
Bangladesh v England at Dhaka - Mar 2, 2010
England won by 2 wickets (with 7 balls remaining)
More results »
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News | Features Last 3 days