Bangladesh v England, 2nd Test, Dhaka, 4th day

Predictable Bangladesh lose their focus

The fourth day in Dhaka was a sadly predictable affair as the home side stewed of believed injustices and England tried not to think of home

Andrew Miller in Dhaka

March 23, 2010

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Tamim Iqbal was caught at backward point by Stuart Broad, Bangladesh v England, 2nd Test, Dhaka, March 23, 2010
Tamim Iqbal was eventually caught by Stuart Broad, but not before being given four lives © Getty Images
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The penultimate day of England's tour of Bangladesh was a destitute day of cricket. It began with one team looking back in anger, still frothing with indignation after Monday's umpiring controversies, while the other looked forward with eagerness to their flight home and a break from the touring grind. The net result was that the present passed by in a fog of indifference, dropped like a Jonathan Trott sitter - embarrassingly but, for the visitors at least, not half as costly as it ought to have been.

It was all so hopelessly predictable. Bangladesh awoke to a screed of inflammatory headlines - "Umpires for the Empire?" being the best of them - and duly performed as if their excuse for failure had been pre-packaged. England, meanwhile, happily accepted the six-wicket gifts that came their way, but even if you accept Trott's calamity as an aberration, they still allowed three further opportunities to go begging, and required a deflection off Alastair Cook's toe to extract the Chittagong roadblock, Junaid Siddique, for 34.

Before the start of the match, Kevin Pietersen had admitted how important it was for England to maintain their concentration right up to the last delivery of the series. "We often don't finish tours the way that we would like," he said. "We sort of veer off at the end of a series because we want to get home, because we travel so much. The key to the team this week is to really make sure we grind it out here and get a good victory."

Will this count as a "good victory" if England manage to wrap the contest up on the final day? Not especially. It will be a face-saver at best, and who knows what would have happened had Tamim Iqbal made the most of the three opportunities that he, of all batsmen, was afforded before he had reached his second fifty of the match. That he could not capitalise on his let-offs spoke volumes for the mood in the Bangladesh dressing-room. Emotion got the better of the squad - and most culpable of all was the coach, Jamie Siddons, who was fined for his outburst on the third afternoon. With their equilibrium tilted, a familiar meltdown ensued.

When asked if Bangladesh were still feeling aggrieved at the umpiring, their top-scoring debutant, Jahurul Islam, could barely hold himself back. "It's right," he said. "We were working hard yesterday and if you don't give out one specialist batsman, then you may not get the second chance. They didn't give out Matt Prior, he scored 62, then same mistake for [Tim] Bresnan, and he scored 91. If we had got those two wickets, they might have been bowled out for 275 to 300 runs. Then we would have been in a strong position."

But all of that was yesterday's news, and Bangladesh's failure to refocus was dispiriting. For all the progress that they have made in recent times, they still cannot do anything about arguably the most damning statistic in world cricket, their draw count. In 66 completed Tests since November 2000, they have secured a stalemate in just six matches - and four of those owed everything to the weather.

Only twice - once at Gros Islet against West Indies in 2004, and then seven months later at home to Zimbabwe - have Bangladesh played out the full distance in a five-day Test match, which is an awful record, even allowing for the greater speed at which contests are played these days. New Zealand, the side that is always cited when excusing their shortcomings, may have taken 45 Tests and 26 years to record their first victory, but they still managed to draw exactly half of their matches leading up to that breakthrough performance at Auckland in 1956.

Before you can learn how to win, you have to know how not to lose - and that, incidentally, was the lesson that Nasser Hussain was forcing upon England in the winter of 2000-01, at exactly the time that Bangladesh were playing their inaugural Test. After bossing the opening exchanges, Bangladesh had a real opportunity to claim a moral victory, by gritting it out in this match, much as Junaid and Mushfiqur Rahim had done for four-and-a-half hours in Chittagong last week. It can still be done with a bit of tail-end resistance and a few hours of tidy bowling, but unless they can instigate an overnight mood transplant, another contest is sure to bite the dust tomorrow.

"It was looking very easy at the end. I could have played a big innings easily if I had been more careful and stopped playing shots," said Jahurul, who epitomised the loss of focus when he was drawn into a loose drive on 43, to be bowled through the gate by Graeme Swann. "You can always hope in cricket, and you never know, it's still possible, but if we could have ended the day with four wickets down, that would have been good. Those last two wickets were too much for us."

"I think four quick wickets tomorrow and we chase 150 and win, that's how I see it," said Tim Bresnan, who had a right to be upbeat after a career-best 91 and a diligent spell of 1 for 21 in nine overs. "We'll see how it goes but that's how we've set it up. We will be chasing a total, I have a feeling about that, especially after getting the key wicket of Mushfiqur. We've got a nightwatchman in tomorrow and then Naeem [Islam], who'll hang in a bit, but if we can get them out, we are sniffing a win."

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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Posted by aasife_gong on (March 24, 2010, 6:02 GMT)

Mr. Miller, lets see how England will cope with the heat of Ashes in Australia. In Australia they will become just like Bangladesh. Did you forget the 5-0 humiliation in 2006-07? That team had Flintoff and Straus and other key players. If a different tier test system is introduced, no doubt England will be with Bangladesh.

Posted by gungchiil on (March 24, 2010, 3:21 GMT)

I know people do a lot of home work, paper work, net work - from all their activities. I believe somebody has a gr8 insight of cricket. But when human being are biased they do the mistakes by knowing them not only in cricket but also in lives. But Mr. Miller is nothing but an Englishman!!

Posted by imissnapser on (March 24, 2010, 1:57 GMT)

sl always, good article andrew miller. our problem is, we're as predictable as our team. same people were granting you knightship for your articles about tamim, and junaid, and shakib. nobody is denying the fact that there were some umpiring mistakes on day three. that doesnt make up an excuse why a team scoring 400+ in the first innings, slumps to 176-6. argue the three unlucky outs, but forget the three lucky breaks aswell, why dont we. bangladesh is making progress, no doubt. slowly, but surely for sure. you have to give the team the due respect, but at the same time digest the criticism that we deserve of our own doing.

Posted by tpjpower on (March 24, 2010, 0:53 GMT)

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. If Bangladesh can come through this with their dignity intact they'll be significantly better equipped as a team to deal with hardship and frustration. These boys play exciting cricket and the world wants to see them succeed. Make no mistake, England are a good side; for Bangladesh to match them and even put them under plenty of pressure in this series shows how much the Tigers have improved. Good luck to the Bangla boys!

Posted by MirajAhmmod on (March 24, 2010, 0:48 GMT)

Mr. Tombaan, according to your theory, only top ranked one test playing nation should play test, not the followers. BD is ranked 10, but 10 out of 250 countries. If you fail to distinguish BD from Ireland, Canada, Zimbabwe, you should go back to cricket to learn more, sorry to say in that way. Why don't you ban WI when they are defeated by BD and Zimbabwe? BD was continuously defeated by innings and in 3/4 days, now they can fight up to 5 days, can threat professional teams with a draw chance - this is because they are playing test cricket. I don't know, how far it's a good decision to restrict test cricket among the top nine nations (why not 10, 12, 15?). In that sense, football (soccer) is less discriminatory than CRICKET. No worries, BD will overcome, just wait, shortly.

Posted by   on (March 24, 2010, 0:46 GMT)

@tombaan

naa mate. Bangladesh has one of the current top allrounders in the team, top bowlers too!! they are way ahead of Ireland (is that a team? they dont have top players), canada and zimbawe are still not upto the level!!!

Posted by Bengali-Tiger007 on (March 24, 2010, 0:45 GMT)

Its not BD at fault here that they are losing, any team can be dishearted and perform even worse then them. But I give full credit to my BD team for their courage and fight back. Eng should have been all out for less than 300, but its not our fault at all because the two umpires were wearing the England shirt underneath their white coat!!!! By the way, to all the Eng fans who are talking nonsense in this forum, please go else where. We are not push overs and we do not tolerate racism either. Even if you guys win, you'l all know that it wasn't a fair win and for that reason you all should be ashamed. BD won this match and we all know that. Another thing, we don't need to be told how to improve, The best teams in the world like India don't have express pace bowlers, infact they have world class medium pace bowlers like Zaheer & co. Rubel and Shaf are still very young, they will be top bowlers one day providing that the BCB don't mess them about. BD is better, hahahahahah!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (March 23, 2010, 23:57 GMT)

I don't think he's being biased or cruel, I think Mr Miller feels let down, as do I. Having lauded, and clearly loved Bangladesh, he's clearly disappointed that they've let their heads drop and to lose their profesionalism. I think profesionalism is the key word, because that's what this young side lacked today. Cleary distraught over the yesterday they gave up, and it's something no team should do. I hoped, and I think Mr Miller thought, that Bangladesh were better than that. After all a draw would be a huge thing, it would show real fight and grit and resolve, something the critics all say they lack. Come on Shakib and Bangladesh, bat the day, show the critics their wrong and show some true grit and profesionalism, you're country needs you. P.S please stop accusing the English of being rascist, I know you're angry but the days of Empire and imperial thought are dead, it's time we all moved on. We're all better than that. Thank you :).

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (March 23, 2010, 23:40 GMT)

Tamim needs to lead Bangladesh in mental strength. Test cricket at times is very very unforgiving. They cannot afford to wilt when they get sledged or they get a bigger slice of the bad decisions. When you look at Tim Bresnan and Vettori and even Dhoni, they are not the most talented bats around, especially Bresnan but I guarantee you, if you give them a reprieve...they WILL most times cash in. Tamim was dropped 5 times in the match and didn't cash in, Rahim got a 50/50 chance going his way (as usual since his height gives the impression of balls going clean over) BUT GOT OUT SOON AFTER. You've got to be stronger mentally to survive. Mayb decisions cost them a win BUT they shouldn't cost them a draw. Again they are at the mercy of Eng playing poorly/poorer to have any chance in the game BUT there is hope for the team to learn from experiences 1nce they r persisted with. @supersaiyan Eng were rightly murdered game 4 vs SA because they were totally outplayed not cause of 1 decision.

Posted by KnightBD on (March 23, 2010, 23:27 GMT)

Very surprised to see you show your true color before you even leave Bangladesh Mr. Andrew Miller. I can give you at least 4 umpiring decision against us in this test mach, how can you give? any??? Still you call it a fair game? twisted.

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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
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