Mike Holmans June 1, 2010

Bangladesh prove to be worthy of Test cricket

With the likes of Chris Gayle and Virender Sehwag as well as Tamim on the circuit, it behoves captains, coaches and think tanks to devote some serious attention to finding a method to contain these explosions.
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Tamim Iqbal's savage century at Lord's highlights just how much Bangladesh cricket has improved © Getty Images

I enjoyed the Lord's Test more than I was expecting to. Even if when Bangladesh fielded, it was the predictable routine of the class side treating the hopefuls with something approaching disdain, when they were batting we watched real competition quite worthy of the designation “Test cricket”.

Shahadat Hossain was the first Bangladeshi ever to get his name on the Lord's honours board, which is certainly a huge achievement. That he picked up his five-for largely through the generosity of careless batsmen or, in the case of Alastair Cook's dismissal, a careless umpire does not take away from its significance in Bangladesh cricket history. It was a reward for persistence and being the bowler who looked least out of place: he looked like a county bowler finding the step up difficult while the others looked like local amateurs volunteering to give net practice.

Tamim Iqbal, the other Bangladeshi to get his name on the boards, however, got there by playing one of the most dazzling innings ever seen in a Test on the old ground. On the one day of the match when the sun shone brightly, Tamim produced an innings which beautifully matched the weather. There have certainly been bigger Test hundreds scored at Lord's, and at least one was scored quicker - Mohammed Azharuddin's century in 1990 came off fewer balls, and it is possible that Percy Sherwell's in 1907 did too in the absence of a reliable count of balls faced for matches back in his era - but I doubt that any have been played so joyously. So carefree looked his batting that he could have been having a casual thrash with his mates on a tipsy Sunday afternoon a couple of hundred yards away in Regent's Park rather than opening the batting for his country in a Lord's Test.

Not that it was stupid or mindless: as he said afterwards, his main aim was to hit the ball where the fielders weren't and he largely succeeded in fulfilling his plan - such as it was. Slip fielders placed traditionally for the opening overs are largely redundant since he is not a great driver and hardly ever edges behind, and he hits it so hard that even those he does edge usually go way over the head of any pertinent fielder in a close catching position, which means there are usually acres of space for him to send the ball towards. It is by no means as risky as it looks to the conventional eye.

Test captains and new-ball bowlers still treat this type of opening assault as an offence against nature: it is so far away from what is “supposed” to happen that they usually flounder in response. The bowlers get angrier and more frustrated and the captain has to cope with trying to set a field which might have some people in the right places while making allowances for bowlers bowling less reliably. For someone like Strauss, it is obviously a nightmare. But with the likes of Chris Gayle and Virender Sehwag as well as Tamim on the circuit, it behoves captains, coaches and think tanks to devote some serious attention to finding a method to contain these explosions.

Supporting Tamim, Imrul Kayes finally managed his maiden half-century and Junaid Siddique showed the solidity which had started to become evident when England visited Bangladesh earlier in the year. Taken overall, the Tigers' batsmen fully justified their Test status. Even tittering about or being embarrased by Bangladesh's bowling, the Lord's Test was no more or less of a mismatch than Nasser Hussain's youthful England side taking on Australia in the 2002-03 Ashes. Bangladesh weren't able to draw, let alone have a chance of winning, but this performance in overseas conditions shows that they have truly graduated.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • fanedlive on February 4, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    Yes it goes both ways bangladesh are playing good and also entertaining cricket but the end result being losing, however i think the key to this is basic knowledge of test cricket, for example bangladesh players seem to go for the bowls they shouldn't go for and also don't seem to like to play them selfs in apart from Imrul kayes, even he sometimes has very poor shot selection, but now going going towards the world cup there is going to be a positive outcome as it is in the form of one day cricket !!!!!!

  • fanedlive on January 23, 2011, 13:41 GMT

    Just wait and see, in this world cup wat bangladesh do! They will not be champion but few countries like india, SA, WI will face problem for Bangladesh. I am sure Bangladesh will easily go Semifinal.

  • fanedlive on January 22, 2011, 3:34 GMT

    "Geoff" ur dream indeed came true BD whitewashed NZ team :) in u r life time ..smile please u don't have to go to the next generation.. show respect and peace out ...in time things happened

  • fanedlive on January 12, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    bangladesh

  • fanedlive on December 14, 2010, 11:21 GMT

    @ Faiz Hussain and when was the last time you won a test match exactly?

  • fanedlive on November 30, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    Its an honor, having such insightful article by an Englishman. I hope such post would continue and be more frequent.

    It would be really nice and I am sure it won't be too far to find Bangladesh playing as a worthy opponent in the classical form of cricket, if ofcourse they are being regularly promoted and helped out by the giants, like allowing them to play more number of test matches, tournaments, internships or at least by offering bright players to be inducted in the overseas country teams, last but not the least, providing a bit more of Media Coverage.

    For Tamim, and those who had Timim like inningses but not been spotted so much, CHEERS!!

  • fanedlive on November 14, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    i don't want to say anything. our performances gonna talk soon for himself. i just wanna thanks MIKE. Bcoz, after writing his article, he managed to find out some times to reply for some of the replies which is so rare in cricinfo. thanks to you again.

  • fanedlive on November 9, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    Who says BD has not quality players? Claim again when you can see Shakib is the Number one in allrounder list, top five in bowling list. While Tamim is developing to be one of the Pinch Opener. U will or u have Seen Mortoza, Imrul, Siddiq, Mushfiq, Razzak, shahadat, wont you?

    Lets see wht will happen in next 5 years. Lets see.

  • fanedlive on November 7, 2010, 22:19 GMT

    well it is well known that Bangladesh is mismatch for the TEST cricket and all the other things you guys says. But if it is; i would say so is true for England and New Zeland for thir parformance in the Test cricket considaring all the year they have been playing cricket what improvement they have shown. it is not now a nation play it is how you see. Don't see the cricket in the eyes of business see it in the eyes of FUN. you will see what it really means.

  • fanedlive on October 22, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    well....Bangladesh Team is improving for sure but they should had some more international ODI before the world cup....keep it up BD...

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