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A pair of heavy defeats, by 181 runs and nine wickets, disguise the full extent of the challenge that Bangladesh posed in their third series against England
March 25, 2010
A pair of heavy defeats, by 181 runs and nine wickets, disguise the full extent of the challenge that Bangladesh posed in their third series against England.
Tamim Iqbal - 8
The classiest batsman of the series by a country mile. Flamboyant and powerful, but far more disciplined than his "see ball, hit ball" mentality would suggest, Tamim deserved at least one century to go with his 125 in the ODIs, and could easily have had two. His 86 at Chittagong was curtailed by the ball of the series from Tim Bresnan, while his wonderful 85 from 71 balls at Dhaka so nearly resulted in a rare century in a single session. The only disappointment was the loose manner of his dismissal in his final innings of the series, but even then he cracked along to a fifty. His rewards will come, because the talent is unequivocal.
Imrul Kayes - 2
He seemed to have cracked it when he followed up his ODI century in New Zealand with an anchor-role in the two-wicket defeat in Mirpur, but Imrul's returns fell away alarmingly when the format switched and the short balls came out in earnest. After 11 Tests he is averaging 13.18 with a top-score of 33, so his series return of 43 runs in four innings wasn't far short of expectations. It was, however, a long way from the solidity that Bangladesh so desperately need.
Junaid Siddique - 7
His first dismissal of the series was a horror - a short ball from Broad, flapped anxiously back to the bowler. But what happened next was remarkable and uplifting. Junaid fought against his demons, and overcame them superbly to post a maiden Test century and leave England so frustrated that his final extraction at Chittagong led Graeme Swann to curse with relief. A freak dismissal, off silly point's toe, prevented him producing any more such heroics at Dhaka.
Aftab Ahmed - 3
In the second innings at Chittagong, Aftab batted with as much composure as England have witnessed in three series (dating back to his role in a warm-up match in 2003), but he still made just 26 runs. He may have been unlucky in the first innings, but you still sensed his wicket was only ever a matter of time.
Jahurul Islam - 6
Owed his opportunity to Raqibul Hasan's "retirement", but acquitted himself well after an initial bout of nerves that lasted long after his first-innings duck - an indignity that can and does happen to many players, even future greats. Jahurul will have to go some way to qualify as one of those, but after slotting two nervy sixes to get his international account up and running, he knuckled down to the task of batting deep, making 43 before being suckered by Swann's change of flight.
Mahmudullah - 6
He's a class act, no question, but he somehow fell short of the returns that were expected of him after his promotion from No. 8 to No. 5. His 51 at Chittagong helped Bangladesh find their feet in the series after a dreadful two days in the field, while his 59 at Dhaka was a vital component of their best day of the series, but realistically, his team needed more from such a well-set batsman. His offspin was used less frequently than expected, but he still chimed in with four useful scalps.
Shakib Al Hasan - 8
Confirmed his stature as a player of immense promise, and underlined his captaincy credentials with bold and confident statements to the press. This is a man who will kowtow to no-one - opponents, team-mates and officials alike - and an infusion of his spirit is exactly what the dressing-room needs. As a batsman he took a while to get up to speed, but showcased his repertoire with a gutsy double at Dhaka, but as a bowler he was the heart and soul of their operation, churning through the overs on unforgiving surfaces to prevent England's batsmen from ever cutting loose.
Mushfiqur Rahim - 8
Never mind his keeping, which did a job. The Mighty Atom is the real deal as a Test batsman, a compact and composed cricketer whose incredible lack of stature is his principal asset. It took England all series to work out what was the right length for a man who barely breaks the five-foot barrier, and at Chittagong, it required the catch of a lifetime from James Tredwell to dislodge him in the first innings, before the nervous nineties did for him second-time around. Never quite as effective at Dhaka, but with experience of England from 2005, he will be crucial in the return series in May.
Naeem Islam - 6
England underestimated his stickability at No. 8, and paid something of a price in three out of four innings - most significantly in the first innings at Dhaka, when he loitered while the real tailenders ran riot. Alas, for Bangladesh's hopes of salvaging something from the series, Naeem's solitary failure came when the stakes were at their highest. When all that was needed was a bit of sheet-anchor resistance, he had a mow at Tredwell, and holed out to deep midwicket. His bowling was barely used, which makes you wonder why he was batting so low.
Abdur Razzak - 5
Had Pietersen's number coming into the Tests, having bagged him in each of the last two ODIs. But Razzak's efforts paled compared to his fellow left-arm spinner, Shakib, who was openly critical of his lack of control as England piled on the runs in their first innings at Dhaka. His seven wickets cost more than 58 apiece and he conceded his runs at more than four an over. Enamul Haque Jr might soon be due another run in the side.
Rubel Hossain - 6
It wasn't a series for pacemen, but Rubel performed as diligently as anyone, and it was his reverse-swinging delivery to Matt Prior that sparked the umpiring rumpus. Had that been given, who knows what might have happened, but as it is he finished the series with two wickets at 119.50. Life is unfair sometimes. Extra marks for his cover-driving, which was simply exquisite.
Shafiul Islam - 5
Failed to take a wicket but still made his mark in style, by smacking a thrilling 47-ball half-century that exceeded his previous career tally in Tests. At the time it looked as though it could have tilted the balance of power in Bangladesh's favour, but he wasn't able to find the same inspiration with the ball
Shadahat Hossain - 4
Selected ahead of Shafiul for the Chittagong Test, largely on the strength of his five wickets against India at the same venue in January. But looked down on pace and lacking in threat, and soon dropped out of contention.
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.Feeds: Andrew Miller
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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