Two – One
Two – One
No this is not a football score as it seems to suggest!
The above mentioned numbers are common occurrences in football matches it is Bangladesh have incredibly managed to conjure those numbers in cricket of all sports.
That is the margin by which the Tigers have upstaged opposition in home series’ post their superb 2015 World Cup campaign and the victims have been Pakistan, India and South Africa.
If critics penned the win over Pakistan as a ‘fluke’ then Mashrafe Mortaza’s Bangladesh went ahead and dispelled those theories by beating India and South Africa in domineering fashion.
The 5-0 win over Zimbabwe prior to the start of the World Cup, is not even being considered, which would add more luster to Bangladesh’s current run.
Even over the Australians (who are touring soon), who are seething after a disastrous Ashes loss to England, Bangladesh definitely have a chance to cause what could prove to be an incredible upset.
The only catch would be that of the Tigers having to replicate that colossal feat in the five-day format!
True that since that Zimbabwean white-wash (Bangladesh won all three Test matches) the Tigers have not won a game in the longer format, with Pakistan besting them 1-0 in a two-game series, while the ones against India and South Africa petered out into dull draws.
So the question arises as to whether Bangladesh have morphed into purely a crack ODI outfit or are they found wanting when it comes to the five-day format?
While Test skipper Mushfiqur Rahim will urge his team to go all out against the Aussies, going by recent records, Bangladesh definitely do not look like beating Australia.
Leaving aside that lop sided thrashing of Zimbabwe, the Tigers looked far from convincing against Pakistan, South Africa and India. Apart from a mammoth 555 in the second innings of the Khulna Test against Pakistan, they could not replicate their ODI heroics in the five-day format.
And apart from Muztafizur Rahman (who has managed to sparkle in both Tests and ODI’s) and an occasional performance or two, the Bangladesh bowlers have not really managed to trouble the three mentioned teams in Tests as compared to their ODI exploits.
But they do have hopes in the batting with the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes and Mahmudullah standing up and delivering against the three teams mentioned and it would be interesting to see how they fare against a charged up Australian bowling line-up waiting to expel frustration post that Ashes humbling.
Bowling seems to be Bangladesh’s weak link (at least in Tests) and taking twenty wickets would be the fore most plan, if they are to have a chance of toppling the Aussies.
The best example cited can be the one-off Test against India at Fatullah (though it is another matter that rain was the real winner!), where Bangladesh’s bowling looked notches below the level they have acquired in ODI cricket and were easily dispatched off by Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay.
Of course Mushfiqur will aim to rein in a top notch attack against the Aussies and Muztafizur will definitely be in the thick of things. Even others like Jubair Hossain and Taijul Islam will be expected to put in a superb performance along with the other stars like Shakib Al Hasan.
And Litton Das may prove to be the ‘X’ factor for the Tigers as his dynamic batting in the Fatullah Test proved.
With a superb batting line-up, consisting of an array of talented players and also some good all-rounders to boot for, it should not be surprising if Bangladesh pull a rabbit off the hat to upset the Aussies.