Bangladesh v England, 1st Test, Dhaka, 4th day

Holding out for a hero

If Nasser Hussain was still captain, he would spend this evening's press conference bemoaning his bowlers' lack of "mystery"

The Wisden Verdict by Andrew Miller

October 24, 2003

Text size: A | A



Habibul Bashar: his innings represented a sea-change in Bangladesh's attitude to Test cricket
© Getty Images


If Nasser Hussain was still captain, he would spend this evening's press conference bemoaning his bowlers' lack of "mystery". And at times on a mystifying day for English cricket, Nasser seemed on a one-man mission to spice up the attack. Fielding under the helmet, he contributed one smart catch and two near run-outs from short-leg, before shifting to a near-suicidal (and surely voluntary) silly gully position, when Stephen Harmison took the new ball.

Perhaps he still feels guilty about the manner of his exit last summer. For it is not Nasser who will have to face the music if this Test goes any less to plan - it is Michael Vaughan, who at The Oval in September must surely have believed that he was over the worst of his teething problems. Not a bit of it. That accolade goes to the Bangladeshis, who have showed their home fans a shiny new set of gnashers, and are sinking them ever deeper into a fragile opposition.

By the close, Bangladesh led by 153 runs with four wickets still standing, and every ounce of certainty had drained from England's body-language. Taken in isolation, the day was no worse than many that England have suffered and surmounted on their three most recent trips to the subcontinent. The heat, the humidity, the unresponsive wicket - they are all familiar factors. But the expectation of victory is a new addition to the broth, and so far it is proving too great a burden.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, are liberated from such demands. All that their loyal supporters expect is that they put up a fight, and their approach has been every bit as stealthful as England's in Pakistan three winters ago. On that occasion, England competed for every session, chewed up the overs with sometimes numbing certainty, and waited for the pressure to tell on the opposition. Sometime tomorrow, we will know how successful this tactic has been.

None of this would have been possible, however, without a sea-change in Bangladesh's attitude to Test cricket. Hannan Sarkar and Habibul Bashar contributed a pair of free-flowing fifties to confirm the talent in this side, but each fell shortly after their landmarks - a notorious trait among Bangladeshi batsmen. It was Mushfiqur Rahman's tortuous 43 not out that provided the truest indication of the new mindset.

Mushfiqur's efforts batted England to a standstill. He came to the crease at 148 for 4, at precisely the moment when England might have come flooding back into control. But his approach, and that of Khaled Mashud and Javed Omar, drew the sting of an already toiling attack, in which Gareth Batty's sharp turn was the only viable attacking option. Tomorrow, Mushfiqur has the chance to extend Bangladesh's advantage, and just possibly make himself a hero.

Andrew Miller is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo. He will be accompanying England throughout their travels in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

RSS Feeds: Andrew Miller

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Andrew MillerClose
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
Related Links

    Have India missed the boat?

Martin Crowe: They made a wrong move by refusing to pick Ashwin; Kohli and Pujara have not come good; and Jadeja has only flattered to deceive

    'Ajmal calls me the running offspinner'

Scott Styris talks about being a globetrotting cricketer, the ugliest cricket kit, and his slow one-day hundred

    An all-round ODI giant

Numbers Game: Few players can boast the sort of numbers that Jacques Kallis achieved in ODIs

    Is being bowled out by Moeen embarrassing?

Polite Enquiries: Is Rahane India's Misbah? Should Rohit be dropped? Jarrod Kimber and George Dobell discuss

How does one 'lead by example'?

Alex Bowden: A captain needs to do enough as an individual to retain respect and control, but exceptional performances may not result in even greater influence

News | Features Last 7 days

The woeful world of Pankaj Singh

Pankaj Singh greeted his most expensive analysis in Test history with the words 'That is cricket'. It was admirable acceptance from an impressive man of a record he did not deserve

Anderson England's guilty pleasure

There is an uncomfortable recognition that the beauty of James Anderson's cricket comes with a professionalism that has been taken to the limits but weak umpiring has to share the blame

Ugly runs but still they swoon

Alastair Cook did not bat like a leading man but the crowd applauded him for simply not failing

Boycott floored by an Indian trundler

When Eknath Solkar got under the skin of Geoff Boycott, leading to a three-year self-imposed exile from Test cricket

Worst keepers, and honours at Lord's

Also, most keeping dismissals on debut, seven-for at HQ, and youngest ODI centurions

News | Features Last 7 days
Sponsored Links

Why not you? Read and learn how!