Reality hits Bangladesh hard
Going by past records, Bangladesh's meek submission to India in the form of an innings defeat does not come as a surprise, writes Atul Sondhi.india Updated: May 27, 2007 16:48 IST
Before India reached a first innings milestone of 600, never ever had a team crossed 550 in the first innings of a match against Bangladesh in their brief Test history.
In fact, only four times before, a total of 500 had been crossed in the first innings of a match, and three times Bangladesh went on to lose the match by an innings. So it will be extremely surprising if they manage to walk away with anything less than an innings defeat.
Going down fighting against Zimbabwe at Chittagong
The first time ever when a team managed to make 500+ in the first innings of a match against Bangladesh was by Zimbabwe at MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong. It was Bangladesh' seventh Test. Thanks to centuries by Trevor Gripper and Andy Flower, Zimbabwe, after they were put into bat, rattled up 542 runs for the loss of seven wickets. Despite having half of the Zimbabwe side in the pavilion at 280, Bangladesh could not quite finish off their lower order and the sixth wicket partnership of 189 between Wishart and Andy Flower allowed the visitors to race away to a 500+ score.
The only Bangla batsman to click in the 1st innings chase was Habibul Bashar, whose 108 runs were 43 per cent of the eventual first innings total of 251. None of the other batsmen could get past 40.
Following on, Bangladesh needed 291 to avoid innings defeat, and they barely did that, riding on again a brilliant 78 from Bashar and a painfully slow, but valuable 80 from Javed Omar. In the end, they lost by eight wickets.
Crushed by South Africa at East London
In October 2002, Bangladesh were facing cricketing superpower South Africa at East London and, considering their fearsome pace attack marshaled by Hayward and Ntini, chose to field.
It turned out to be not such a good option after all, as opener Graeme Smith, into only his third career test, compiled a tremendous 200 off just 287 balls. His massive 272 runs partnership with Gary Kirsten (150) ensured that South Africa reached a total of 529, at an innings average of four runs per over.
Bangladesh's reply in the match was effectively over as soon as they had lost their first five wickets with just 100 on board. But it was more of their batting which had let them down with batsmen getting the starts but failing to convert them. In two innings, five of their batsmen had gone into 30s and 40s without making it count. They had only one half century to show in the match - 71 by Al Shahariar. Not surprisingly, South Africa won by an innings and 107 runs.
Two mauling in two months
2004-05 was especially the bad season for Bangladesh in this respect. They suffered two innings defeat, when following on.
In October 2004, they were facing New Zealand at MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong. Kiwis skipper Fleming won the toss and elected to bat. He clicked scoring a tremendous double century to anchor the visitors to a formidable 545 for six declared.
A demoralized Bangla side could never face up to the challenge, losing their first four wickets before reaching three figure mark in the fist innings. They simply never recovered, eventually going down by an innings and 101 runs.
The extent of Bangladesh's capitulation can be gauged by the fact that the highest scorer for them in the match was their number ten batsmen, Tapas Baisya, at 66 runs.
Two months later, again at Chittagong, it was India's turn to bat first and inflict misery on Bangladesh. It was a match to remember for Gautam Gambhir as after narrowly missing a century against South Africa, he managed a superb 139. His partnership of 259 with Dravid (160) eventually took India to 540. Skipper Ganguly too contributed his bit, with a valuable 88.
Faced with this situation, Bangladesh gave a fighting reply with 333 riding on Mohammad Ashraful's brilliant 158. But following on, it was again the same old story. Pathan, now fighting for a comeback but then a top strike bowler, was on roll scalping first five wickets and Bangladesh were bowled out for just 124, handing out India an innings win.
So against major teams - India, New Zealand and South Africa, Bangladesh have always lost by an innings margin when facing over 500 in the first innings of a match. This time it should be no different, unless God answers their prayers for a miracle, or rain.