<
>

Glimmers of hope in the gloom

Bangladesh weren't ruthlessly exposed by the No. 1 Test side, but were let down by their own weakness. In the first Test, India gave them every chance to get on top but they succumbed. In the second, they fought back thrillingly but collapsed right at the moment when they were about to go past India. They are yet to get used to success and it showed whenever they got close to it. The maturing of Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah, Shahdat Hossain's fiery potential and Mushfiqur Rahim's bravery, however, were the positives.

Tamim Iqbal

The change started with his maiden Test hundred in the West Indies. He had never faced so many deliveries before in Tests and he continued with the good work this series. All the big shots were there but what stood out was the clarity of thought and the desire to walk the talk. He kept threatening to waste starts, but in the end he thrilled all with a sparkling hundred in Chittagong.

Imrul Kayes

He got a good delivery in the second innings of the first Test but fell to mental errors in the rest. An injudicious across-the-line whip, a casual flick down the leg side and a check-drive after being hit by a bouncer in the previous ball were his modes of dismissal. He has a tendency to fall over on the front foot and the upcoming tour of New Zealand will be a good test.

Shariar Nafees

It was a forgettable comeback from the ICL. He looked nervy, he was edgy, and he didn't inspire any confidence. Strangely, for an opener, Jamie Siddons said Nafees was picked in the first Test for his ability to play spin. At no stage did he look like he was mentally ready to play at No 3.

Raqibul Hasanbr>

They said he was out of form and out of touch - and they were proved right as he struggled through the series. He wasn't sure of his off stump and he was done in twice, playing away from the body and falling to incoming deliveries. The misery was complete when he shouldered arms to a delivery that came in from round the stumps. The management has immense faith in him, though, and will hope that he turns things around in New Zealand.

Mohammad Ashraful

The pressure to perform is growing every day but the old problems persist. His brain freezes are legendary by now and the moment that perfectly caught his struggles came in the first innings of the second Test when he had a 'headless chicken' charge at Pragyan Ojha.

Mushfiqur Rahim

The Indians called him a schoolboy. He looks likes one and there is a sense of impishess to his constant chatter while keeping. His batting, though, was one of the high points of the series for the hosts. He pulled them out of a hole in the first innings of the first Test and hit a sparkling maiden ton in the second innings. He was also unbeaten during the second innings of the second Test, when everything was collapsing around him.

Shakib Al Hasan

He bowled and led well in patches but his batting let him down in this series. Three bad shots - he chased wide deliveries twice and played that fatal sweep in the last innings - meant he couldn't set a good example to the rest. He maintained admirable dignity when the press tried to bait him on the Sehwag issue and garnered more respect when he stood up to the BCB president, but a frank admission of why they lost the plot in the second innings made him a villain in the end.

Mahmudullah

His batting would have thrilled the fans. He seemed to know how to control his aggression and restrain the urge to play flashy shots. There was a sense of clarity in his batting which was missing in much of the top order and it probably won't be long before he is pushed up the order. He shared a vital partnership with Rahim in the first Test, was involved in a brief, but thrilling, counterattack in the second innings of that Test. With a fine maiden hundred to boot, in the second Test, it was an unforgettable series for him.

Shahadat Hossain

He is back. Like Ishant, there were several self-doubts before the series. He wasn't comfortable with the tweaks in his action and talked about reverting to his old style but persisted with the new and tasted success right away in the first Test. He bowled his heart out in the second, constantly surprising the Indians with his bounce. He even chipped in with a thrilling counter-attacking innings in the last Test.

Shafiul Islam

He bowled better that Shahadat in the first innings of the first Test but didn't get much success. His captain, though, backed him up with public words of encouragement. He caused a couple of problems to Gambhir in the first Test by going round the stumps in the first innings and produced a stunning bouncer in the second Test to dismiss him. He wasn't consistent though, but it's still early days.

Rubel Hossain

He has the pace and the ability to reverse swing. The high point was his inswinger to remove Sachin Tendulkar in the second innings of the first Test. He saw chances go down off his bowling in the second Test. Champaka Ramanayake, the bowling coach, said they have been working on his follow-through and fitness. Bangladesh will hope he does improve, and with Mashrafe Mortaza highly unlikely to play Tests again, they would need Rubel to step up.

Junaid Siddique

He played just one Test but immediately seized the opportunity with a gritty half-century in the second innings of the second Test. He got out playing a lazy pull to a lifter in the first innings but fought it out in the second. He has knocked out Shahriar Nafees from the No. 3 slot but the Tests against New Zealand and England tour will offer real proof of his ability.