On several levels, Old Trafford was a miserable failure for Bangladesh, they lost 10 wickets in just over a session twice. Once is okay, as several teams showed last year: England (10/91 in 29.5 overs - 4th test), Australia (10/87 in 29.5 overs - 5th test), but if you do it twice, like say, the West Indies (10/106 in 23.4 overs - 1st Test and 123 in 31.5 overs - 2nd Test) then you don't deserve to play test cricket. Not that the collapse mattered on that front. It is a peculiarly English thing to treat teams with condescension until they've beaten them at home - after which they must be good. But trawl through those dates, and they seem instantly familiar: Australia 1882, South Africa 1935, West Indies 1950, Pakistan 1954, India 1971, New Zealand 1983, Sri Lanka 1998. When Bangladesh next tour, if they ever next tour, then they can add their names to that list.
Other failures were more important: having found their way into a favourable position, they played really badly, when they need to learn to hang in and fight; they just missed their expected margin again, which indicates that their improvement is stalling, and their rating is about right; and by rushing off to the Asia Cup, they've passed up a valuable opportunity to tour the counties (and associates) to learn something about batting and bowling in difficult conditions.
Nevertheless, it wasn't all bad, and their overall performance was similar to how New Zealand and the West Indies performed in the previous three May tours:
For England, this was a learning opportunity for certain players. Bresnan, though injured, seems to have been written off for his bowling at Lord's. Morgan clearly needs work and Prior was criticised while Finn and Shahzad seem to have great potential. How much you can learn from so few performances against such an ordinary side.
The inter-continental cup restarts with a vital game for both sides. The Dutch must win to have any chance of making the final, while Scotland must keep winning to stay ahead of Zimbabwe, and/or over-take Afghanistan. Without the county players, tied up in county games, Scotland probably have a slight edge, though not near as large as the ratings suggest. Plus, being the Netherlands, it will probably rain anyway.
A big test for the West Indies, who are rated to win one game, but have been erratic in the past year, with some good performances in Australia making up for a little of the rubbish they played in England. South Africa have recently lacked the edge that took them above Australia 18 months ago, and seem overly dependent on Steyn for inspiration. If the pitches are anything like the roads served up to England then the most interesting question might be whether Amla can break the record for most runs in a calendar year. A series being anticipated more in trepidation than anticipation, but worth watching regardless.
Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.
Idle Summers 10th June, 2010 19:42:00 [#]