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November 24, 2019

Long way to go


November 24, 2019

There are 12 Test-playing countries in the world. India, New Zealand, England and Australia are the top four. Pakistan are currently placed on the seventh position.

The first ICC World Test Championship started from August 1, 2019, with the Ashes series and will run till July 2021.

India are at the top with six wins in six matches. Pakistan are playing their first game of the Test Championship, against Australia.

Bangladesh lost the first Test against India. The second Test is being played at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. It is the first-ever day-night Test match in India.

People of Bangladesh like Pakistan and India are crazy for cricket. Before Bangladesh got Test status, when their team lost an ODI against Kenya in March 1999, hundreds of fans protested outside the offices of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and when Bangladesh got Test status in 2000, thousands of people celebrated on the streets.

But they have been unfortunate. Even 19 years after getting Test status, they are not rated among tough opponents by most teams.

Before they were awarded Test status, there was a long debate about whether Bangladesh was ready for the longer version of the game (there were only two formats then, one-day and Test). As an associate member, their performances had been average.

But winning the ICC Trophy in Kuala Lumpur in 1997 and the victory against Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup strengthened their case. They became the 10th Test team in November 2000 when they took on India in Dhaka. Bangladesh surprised everyone when they kept the Indians under pressure during the first three days of that Test. After winning the toss, they scored 400 runs and bowled out the strong Indian batting for 429.

Aminul Haq became the first Bangladeshi batsman to score a century (145) while Habibul Bashar scored 71 runs. But the hosts failed to repeat the first innings performance and were bowled out for just 91 runs and lost the Test by nine wickets.

They have had many coaches, from different countries, including Dav Whatmore, Shaun Williams, Jamie Siddons, Stuart Law, Richard Pybus, Shane Jurgensen, Chandika Hathurusingha, Richard Halsall, Courtney Walsh, Steve Rhodes and Russell Domingo. But all of them failed to make Bangladesh a strong Test side.

Before the ongoing second Test against India, Bangladesh had played 115 Tests, lost 86 and won only 13.

Bangladesh won their first Test in their 35th attempt when they beat Zimbabwe by 226 runs in Chittagong in 2005. They had lost 31 of their first 34 matches. But the Bengal Tigers achieved their first win earlier than New Zealand, who had to wait 45 matches for their first victory.

Bangladesh have recorded Test wins against Australia, England, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe. They have not been able to overcome Pakistan, India, New Zealand and South Africa.

Bangladesh came close to their first Test victory against Pakistan in 2003 but Inzamam-ul-Haq snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in Multan. The visitors were on the top when they had reduced Pakistan to 205-8 in their chase of 268.

Before they arrived in Pakistan, Bangladesh had lost 20 of their previous 21 Tests.

The Bengal Tigers also lost the Test against Afghanistan who received Test status in June 2017. In September 2019, Afghanistan beat hosts Bangladesh by a big margin in their one-off Test.

Bangladesh’s highest Test innings total is 638 which they scored against Sri Lanka at Galle in March 2013. They were bowled out for just 43 by the West Indies at North Sound in July 2018.

Their biggest win so far has been the victory by an innings and 184 runs against the West Indies at Dhaka in November last year.

Opener Tamim Iqbal is the most successful Test batsman from Bangladesh with 4327 runs in 58 matches, averaging 38.98. He has struck nine hundreds and 27 fifties.

Mushfiqur Rahim is just behind him with 4136 runs in 68 Tests. His 219 not out against Zimbabwe in Dhaka in November 2018 is the highest individual score from Bangladesh. Mushfiqur is the most capped player from Bangladesh with 68 Tests. He was captain in 34 of them. He is the only Bangladesh player to have scored two double centuries.

On the bowling side, all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is the most successful bowler with 210 wickets in 56 Test matches, averaging 31.12. He is the only Bangladeshi bowler with more than 200 Test wickets. He has led Bangladesh in Test and Twenty20 matches.

Unfortunately, Shakib is serving a two- year ban which was imposed when the ICC found him guilty of failing to contact the sport’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) watchdog after being approached on three separate occasions to “engage in corrupt conduct”.

Shakib has played a vital role in Bangladesh’s victories. He was overall the third highest run scorer at the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

NOTE: All statistics are updated before the second Test between India and Bangladesh.

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