Sunday, 30 October 2016

Review of the 2nd Test in Bangladesh

So we came, we saw but we didn't conquer. On a day that the clocks went back, the English batting went back to Dhaka times as we lost ten wickets after tea on the third day. On the eve of Hallowe'en, this was a horror show, especially if your surname is Ballance or Dharmasena. Take nothing away from Bangladesh - they thoroughly deserved it and could easily have taken the series 2-0. This was a fascinating game to follow on from Chittagong. England might have toured Bangladesh and made friends for doing so but in this Test match, we didn't really turn up. This was a ghoulish performance, this was one for the road, no foreplay; just a quickie. This was a three day Test.

Sher-E-Bangla...scene of a famous win for the Tigers
There were a few changes. England brought in Ansari and Finn whilst Bangladesh bolstered their tail by giving a game to Shuvugata "Ken" Hom. It started serenely bar Imrul "Alicia" Kayes, fallin' by cutting Woakes into the hands of Ben Duckett early on. Tamim Iqbal was watchful but soon started to motor the scoreboard along quickly. He was helped by some poor bowling from England's spinners. Rashid bowled a poor leg stump line to the Tiger's left handers and Ansari bowled a combination of decent deliveries and delicious pies that even Mary Berry could have hit to the boundary.

England's spinners were outbowled here and it was the difference between the sides. Consistency is the key and two bad balls an over from these two saw them get punished. I'm not saying Leach or Rayner would have won England this game but our obsession with non specialists who can bat came back to haunt us. They certainly would have asked a few more questions of Iqbal and Mominul.

Then we saw a tumble of wickets. The collapse of the value of the pound over the summer has nothing along the lines of what happened here. Moeen Ali bowled extremely well to pick up a Michelle and Ben Stokes breathed life into the English attack. Hitting the opposition skipper on the head is one way of doing that and Stokes looked in the mood for violence. Glowering like a man drinking on the end of the bar in a council estate pub, Stokes looked like he wanted it. And it was great to watch. Bangladesh went from 171-1 to 220 all out.

"Did you spill my pint?"

England batted and Duckett smacked a big six before falling. Is he the answer to our opening problems? Hmmm. There is a big difference between flaying Division Two bowling around on a flat deck in Northampton to this. Hameed should have opened but on a personal basis I'd like to have seen Gubbins out there if they don't trust the Bolton Blocker to move the scoreboard along quickly enough when batting with Cook. It might sound harsh as Duckett is a young lad in only his second Test in alien conditions but India will bring more of the same. Let's not ruin him. Maybe four is his spot?

Talking of ruining people, I feel for Gary Ballance. It would have been kinder to drop him and I fear that might be the end of his international career. He needed to be taken out of the firing line, doing some work behind the scenes and coming back strong in India. As George Dobell brilliantly wrote, "he is lacking so much form, he could be described as a gas". Ali had a horrible wipe across the line. England despite being 144-8 managed to get a lead of 24 thanks to Woakes and Rashid making the tail wag more than a labrador hearing the words "Walkies". Mehedi got another sixfer.

Dharmasena enjoying a walk in Dhaka

The Tigers batted again and yet again Dharmasena got decisions wrong. Overturned more times than election results in Zimbabwe under the Mugabe regime, it was shocking. At one point he sported dark glasses, although he was missing his white cane and guide dog. I'd hate to see the state of the rim of his toilet. Bangladesh got 296 thanks to 78 from Alicia and Rashid and Ansari both bowled a lot better. It proved a match winning total.

So England had to bat well to win the series. Cook and Duckett both started well but both fell after scoring 50. England then had one of their moments as they lost all ten wickets for 64 runs. To lose five wickets after the interval would have been careless but England collapsing so badly after tea, was akin to a man being fed under cooked chicken by chef whose hands were smothered with E. Coli. Sher-E-Bangla? England were devoured like a sherry trifle.

Mehedi was the devil in disguise as he picked up his third six of the series. Some of England's shots were hellish. Finally the end came when Finn was lbw and tried to review. England had run out of reviews, time and luck as Bangladesh grabbed a famous victory by 108 runs.

Mehedi...6,6 and 6

Never mind them playing on turning pitches, we'd stick them on green tops in Durham in May. Home sides prepare pitches to suit them and I have no problem with the conditions. We knew what was coming and the Jadeja and Ashwin will enjoy their Diwali even more after watching this. Bangladesh should enjoy this moment and be proud of their young team. It could have easily been 2-0 to them.

The series has given us two excellent matches and I have thoroughly enjoyed them. Here though, England struggled. At Mirpur, we're poor but let's take nothing away from Bangladesh.

The real question is whether we learn from the experience for the India series.


  1. Fair, and witty review.
    This England team has a lot of promise.
    Bayliss needs to earn his money by improving team belief, and focus.
    Cook can build on his captaincy legacy if lessons are learned, and fortunes reversed.
    Wish the English all the best!
    The Indians will await them, ready to bury them under heavy scores, and bamboozle them with whizzing deliveries..

  2. Plenty of "on the money" stuff there. I had a warm nostalgic glow for England of the 1990's watching that collapse. Bangladesh look to have improved as a test team (which is good), at least at home, and it's been an enjoyable mini series. I think you're right that Hameed needs to open, with Duckett dropping down to 4 in place of Ballance, who cannot play the next test. There's also little point in continuing with Steve Finn at the moment. Not taking wickets, and going for plenty. Biggest positive was Ben Stokes, and Moeen was pretty good too.

  3. Great experience for England and me: round the bat and in your face. Won't forget Mushfiqur waving Mominul Haque closer in to take Cook.

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