England v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Old Trafford, 3rd day June 6, 2010

Collapse clouds signs of progress

Jamie Siddons remains convinced his team has made strides over the last two weeks

There will be a lot of familiar headlines on Monday after Bangladesh twice subsided inside a session. Sport moves on quickly and the stories will question the team's ability and probably their right to play Test cricket. After providing such impressive resistance at Lord's, and then making England work hard for a day-and-a-half at Old Trafford, it was a bad time to fold so meekly.

However, coach Jamie Siddons remained convinced his team had made strides over the last two weeks. "Don't write us off too much," he said. "If things had gone our way we could have knocked England over for a bit less then it's up to our batsmen. We have two or three who can do that but the others need to catch up. We are still on a learning curve. We are easy-beats when conditions suit here, but certainly not at home or in India or as we showed in New Zealand.

"Whatever they say we've heard it before, no doubt about that," Siddons added about the flak his team will get. "We played three good days at Lord's, our top order was really good and our middle order is normally much better than that. They did come in during some bad conditions at Lord's but here they should have applied themselves better. We've got a couple of players who are standing up but others aren't and we need consistency."

Admittedly 10 years after making their Test debut it is requiring a heap of patience to believe that Bangladesh will eventually become a force in the longer format, but over the last two weeks there have been enough signs that progress is being made. Certainly compared to their visit here five years ago, where the two Tests at Lord's and Chester-le-Street were both wrapped up in little more than two days, there have been significant advances.

Top of that list has been the performance of Tamim Iqbal who scored 268 flamboyant runs in the two matches, while in terms of individual development the performance of Imrul Kayes, his opening partner, has been heartening after he looked a walking wicket in the first innings at Chittagong in March.

Bangladesh are not due to return to England until 2020 but what they need is more overseas experience in these conditions, not less. The problem is, though, that they are a tough product to market and it's a credit to Lancashire that the crowds at Old Trafford have been strong, especially on the opening two days. It is also why players like Tamim are vital because they make the team marketable and will encourage other nations who play in different conditions to invite them.

"We have put in such hard work with the batsmen," Siddons said. "We had a good session with Tamim the other day but the spin was too much. If it spins a lot or swings a lot we are in trouble. Our wickets do spin but our young players aren't used to that sort of pressure. They didn't cope that well.

"When conditions are good and not doing too much we are competitive with any team in the world and can take them to five days," he added. "But we haven't got enough matchwinners to win the games yet. Our fast bowlers aren't good enough to run through sides, but with our spinners, Shakib has shown he can take five-fors and he's a world-class spinner."

However Siddons knows collapses like they produced at Old Trafford do their image no favours and only add fuel to the fire for those who question why they sit at cricket's top table with so little to show for a decade's work.

"I'd hate to come back here and put that performance up again," he admitted. "We need to be better and it takes time to get people ready for that type of swing bowling. We've got Tamim and Shakib, who is a much better player than he showed here. But we have good things to work on, that's what makes coaching this team such fun."

It takes quite a phlegmatic character to be able to think of fun after a 34th innings defeat in 68 Tests, but Siddons has had plenty of experience with dealing with the situation. "You have to pick them up all the time but to their credit they keep coming back."

Bangladesh's next assignment is the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka before they return to England for a three-match one-day series in July. Don't be surprised if over the next month they upset major opposition in a format where their deficiencies aren't so ruthlessly exposed. Progress is being made even if it doesn't always look that way.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Srinivas on June 9, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    "If it spins a lot or swings a lot we are in trouble. "...then why play a lot? Just remove the test status already and let them improve their first class structure. BAN playing has become a joke. One player (any one of the 11) gets a decent score and all you writers go gaga about progress. Gimme a break guys. Watching BAN play test cricket is a painful experience. Slaughter of the lambs. How much can BAN fans suffer this and for how long?

    Looks like for BAN, Ash is like Tendulkar (minus the talent, dedication, consistency and every other quality that made Tendulkar) - only interms of 'No Drop' insistence. That guy is like a leach. Does nothing but still gets in the team. Awesome. Progress is continuing, only downward. Keep up the good work BCB.

    Noww you know why India never wants Ban to tour India...right guys!!!

  • Mark on June 8, 2010, 20:54 GMT

    There are various ways of helping Bangladesh develop. One suggestion is simply to cut all Tests against Bangladesh to 4 days: let them learn to avoid defeat by making it easier (New Zealand played 3-day Tests for its first 20 years of Test cricket). Another is to invite Bangladesh "A" to play in the Intercontinental Cup in the same way that Zimbabwe does, thus gaining experience of playing in different conditions around the world against beatable opposition. I don't understand the comments about England refusing to invite them for 10 more years (how many series have they played in India or Australia??) - if it's a problem, get India or Pakistan to play a "home" series against Bangladesh in England, like Pakistan are playing Australia. With so many Asian fans in the UK, you would get good crowds, a great atmosphere and a lot of useful experience in english conditions, quite apart from many thousands of grateful fans who can see their heroes more often.

  • Mark on June 8, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    Sometimes it is hard to figure out Bangladesh. At times they can look a highly competitive side even against strong opposition (they have had their moments against India & Australia & should have beaten Pakistan at least once), but the steel isn't there. Even in the 2nd Test in Bangladesh last winter when a draw looked odds-on, you always felt that a collapse was just around the corner. In that particular Test, had they batted 30 minutes longer they would probably have ensured a draw: a side with a 9, 10, Jack with some spirit should be capable of that kind of resistance at home on friendly tracks. In this series there have been some tremendous performances from individuals, but never a sustained team effort. Tamim looks to be a class act, but where is his support? Keyes looked good at times, but got bounced out by Finn every innings, even on a dead Lords pitch & the middle order was, all too often, awful, even when the position was set up for them. They are improving, but too slowly.

  • Mohammad on June 8, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    Mohammad Asad from USA..... Ban can not afford to ignore any test match playing opportunity..... I guess they did mistake by cancelling Pak tour due to so-called security reasons... Ban do not have terror atmosphere... they have good playing condition and have millions & millions of cricket fans........ Ban need to prepare some fast / bouncy pitch......... Ban need to re-arrange Pak tour, so that Ban players could bat against some good pace / seam attack...............

  • zulfiquar on June 8, 2010, 0:45 GMT

    gmaurup, nicely spoken. From your lips to God's ears.

  • golam mohammad on June 7, 2010, 18:34 GMT

    Disappointed? yes. But to me all is not lost. Its true Bd are playing tests for 10 years, but it is also true, no one came out standing strong. Actually 3/4 generations already passed through the 60 odd matches. yielding almost no world beater (habibul and rafique was partially there). But this generation is different. If Tamim, Junaid, Shakib, Mushfiq, Mahmud and Shafiul can be a real core to last 3 more years . The story will be completely different. Bd U19 is among the world tops (thats why cricinfo made a story why they are chokers in U19 world cups!). So things are already different as young pacers like shafiul and rabiul are coming with a lot of exposure and first class experience. We all speak of Sri Lankas rise. But it is true when they won WC they had a core of de silva, ranatunga, mahanama with 7-8 years experience. I think the core is made for Bd. The pipeline is ready. Please stay with us. We will overcome in a couple more years.

  • zulfiquar on June 7, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    After Pakistan England tests, I think England will be in Bangladesh, WI, NZ Tier and Pakistan in the India, SA, Aus, SL Tier. Or, if the tiers are split 4/5 then Tier 1: SA, AUS, SL, Ind and Tier 2: Eng, Pak, NZ, BD, WI.

  • zulfiquar on June 7, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    I like Daniel_Smith's idea. BD players need exposure, and only then will they improve. The people who say test status should be taken away (Boycott) what do they suggest to help the nation? Only negatives? Give us some ideas... officially from the Gurus to BCB.

  • zulfiquar on June 7, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    What dies it mean to have two tier arrangement? How many teams per tier? What teams in what tier?

  • Shams on June 7, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    I am very dissapointed with Bangaldesh Team. They play test cricket like one day games. Even though Tamim who scored back to back centuries in 2 tests could have build his innings and try to save the follow-on. In the second test from 126 without loss it was a non-stop clatter of wickets!! The players must build temperment for longer version of the game.

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