Bangladesh in Zimbabwe 2013 April 30, 2013

Bangladesh impress with their resilience

The team's now starting to find ways to recover from setbacks, and credit should go to the middle-order and Robiul Islam's consistency

A mere look at the difference in numbers between the two Tests suggests a large break between the two matches. It was as if Bangladesh had played the first Test in 2002 and the second in 2013. Of course, it was a four-day break during which time they mostly looked around Harare for a morning spot in the nets.

But the nature of the contest was such that Bangladesh's recovery from a 335-run defeat to a 143-run win didn't seem implausible. They were the better team on paper with more experienced players, and came into the Tests with a more impressive showing in the previous tour.

Bangladesh, for once, found resilience at their beck and call. Robiul Islam ran in, all day, with the new ball and old, before and after a break. It wasn't just the odd spell but every time Robiul delivered, it started off straight, pitched and curved out. Consistently. It went on for 110 overs over nine days.

There have been instances of these newfound characteristics becoming infectious in the Bangladesh dressing-room. No sooner had Sohag Gazi told the team manager that he was not afraid of facing West Indian fast bowlers under lights, it became clear that the rest of the team would man up. It was the same with Shakib Al Hasan's unshakable confidence some years ago. It spreads, and this resilient bit would certainly be helpful to the cricketers' psyche.

Another set of numbers that fascinates is the twin half-centuries by Shakib, Mushfiqur Rahim and Nasir Hossain in the second Test. And those invariably came in the same sequence, to the same effect.

The engine room has found its core. All it needs are the pivots on the top and bottom to work properly. Shakib was forceful, almost intimidating to the Zimbabwean bowlers. There were moments in which he looked as if choosing between two or three shots to certain deliveries. It was quite evident in his manner of dismissals that he was bored by Elton Chigumbura and Hamilton Masakadza's pace, but Mushfiqur's earnestness to the cause kept the other end watertight.

The Bangladesh captain was the only batsman in four innings to have made the bowler earn his wicket, or fallen to a fantastic catch. Each of those happened twice, but by the time he was out in both innings of the second Test, the job was done. He had to plant a certain sense of belief among the batsmen that runs are available as long as there is a good supply of patience.

Nasir takes on from his captain. He comes in at No.7, a graveyard for middle-order batsmen in some teams but he makes it look like fun. Nasir doesn't hold back from his shots and doesn't defend astutely.

Among many of the Bangladesh players, there is a lack of Plan B, a failsafe if their natural game doesn't suit the conditions

The attitude has to spread, just like Robiul's resilience and Mushfiqur's assuredness. They are not really free spirits in the dressing-room but have devised ways to bounce back from setbacks. They do it their way, but some of the others haven't quite found their methods. Among many of the Bangladesh players, there is a lack of Plan B, a failsafe if their natural game doesn't suit the conditions. Shahriar Nafees left a massive gap between bat and pad in the second innings of the first Test, by merely taking too much of a liking to Kyle Jarvis' width. Eventually, a full ball knocked back his stumps.

Jahurul Islam too has resorted to one kind of batting in respective formats. In Test cricket, he seems to have employed his full repertoire of his defensive game has to be employed. So when he has to get out of a jam, like he was in both Tests, he couldn't move quickly enough. He was unlucky once but his swish in the first innings of the second Test is the sort of shot that the selectors won't forget.

Despite coming into the series in good form, Mohammad Ashraful showed no inclination to adjust according to the bowlers, conditions or situations. If an all-out attack doesn't suffice, it is straight back to dead defense.

The bowling too has suffered as a result of this fixation towards to one method. Rubel Hossain needs to be given a few bowling plans he understands fully and can integrate into his thinking. Enamul Haque jnr was another who relied heavily on just bowling one type of delivery.

Mushfiqur too has been too reliant on whoever does well with the ball. He probably doesn't believe in short spells, so even the pace bowlers ended up bowling long spells. It becomes easier for a batsman to predict what would come next from a certain angle. His field placings too have been on the defensive side, especially when the batsmen had flirted with danger.

However, Mushfiqur has shown a lot of courage over the last few months, and not just on the field. The decision to drop vice-captain Mahmudullah was the "toughest" in his captaincy. It sounds easy especially when a man is out of sorts, but you don't want to drop your deputy ahead of a crucial game. That was a signature move for Mushfiqur from these two Tests: the guts to take the tough decisions and stand by them.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    BD is not a team of only Shakib & Tamim anymore! Every one is a match winner, everyone is contributing for BD now! Nasir, Robiul, Mushfiq, Ziaur, Ashraful, Gazi, Razzak, Shafiul are doing in great guns! And still there are many great names likes Mashrafee, Anamul, Najmul are missing for injuries and other reasons and some young talented cricketers are also waiting in the pipeline! So, i see a great future for BD cricket!

  • yuvraj on May 2, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    @ Mustafiz Rahman. Atleast Aus wins test matches at home. Can BD even draw a test match at home.

  • Dummy4 on May 1, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    Mamudullah is a one of the best Player Bangladesh side, Lot of cricketers pass the bad time and they are recover, i hope Mamudullah also good come back again. he is uor good Finisher . All the best ,

  • Shakti on May 1, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    @asiacricket...Of course The West Indians assualted Bangladesh,& in Bangladesh too.Did you notice the serious jump in Marlon Samuels test average thanks to that tour?I don't have a problem with Zimbabwe & Bangladesh playing test cricket if they are compelled to play against all test teams,not just West Indies & New Zealand.I can't say I enjoy watching any of these players,but I obviously hope they will reach respectable standards & have players that are respectable on all sorts of pitches all around the world against every team.I wouldn't really call the ICC the guardian of cricket when the MCC is actualy the guardian of cricket & its rules.

  • Dummy4 on May 1, 2013, 20:48 GMT

    Well said asiacricket1234. And @ Jagernath, test cricket is played between 7 top teams, WI will be out. Do you realize that? Did you see how Australia performed recently in its test series against India? Where do you place Australia then? I dont understand this mentality when it comes to BD or Zim. Grow up please.

  • Dummy4 on May 1, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    #Ban tour of #Zim,Fixtures no 3 day practice match.surprised!!! whoever Number one test playing country touring any country need adopt with the condition. Could be 2-0 Bangladesh victory.

  • Muhammad Rakibul on May 1, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    S.Jagernath: Cricket isn't popular in many parts of the Globe because of so called ELITENESS of its elite format. U probably wanna see teams with dominating Boards to rule Test. Then it'll b a format of SA, Eng, Aus and at best Ind or Pak. Finally Test cricket will die, as it won't have any chance of extension due to Elite-ness.

  • Farhan on May 1, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    @S.Jagernath : WI have assaulted us? Really? |That must have happened in your dream. We almost won the first test. That was our first test in 11 month. When WI play against any other team they get hammered just like the bottom two teams too. There have always been teams that are lower ranked and struggled against higher ranked team and the only way ICC can help is by giving them matches so they can work their way to the top or present themselves as a decent team. Test cricket is not going to be benefited if it is only played by 4-5 teams.

  • sadequl on May 1, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    @ S.Jagernath it seems U R frustrated some way to see 2 bottom ranking teams to play in here but if U do not allow others to compete in test arena & want to isolate it with your so called "eliteness of Test cricket" then be sure days will come when it will be meaningless. ICC knows a lot better as an organization about cricket's globalization.

    SL team is a perfect example for it, which became world's dominating cricketing power atm. Yes BD & Zim might having their tough timing now but that doesn't mean they will not be able to compete with top test ranking teams sooner, rather wait for certain period of time when U will see how they also became world beater too. If U check U will find that reality, where most top cricketing teams also had troubles initially. To find them selves to be in such position that also sometimes varied in certain times too. So it would be wise thing to let ICC decide how they want to deal test cricket as guardian, rather then making such meaningless comments.

  • Dummy4 on May 1, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    Everyone is talking about Robiul and bit about Zia. To be honest getting 15 wickets against Zim doesn not prove he will be the main spearhead of BD team and will perform against Top teams like Australia, South Africa or England. We still could not produce Mashrafee quality Fast bowler who can shake the top order of any teams. We need two Mashrafee quality bowlers and Robiuk would be the third seamers. Enamul Jnr, took 18 wickets against Zim, but after that couldn't see him performing against top teams. So selectors and BCB bring back the pacer hunt program again and if you do that probably within 2-3 years we will get some decent fast bowlers who can take wickets and keep the opposition's run rate down.