Bangladesh achieves a victory that almost no one saw coming



Last month, Pakistan had declared on day four to 4-300, pushing for an unlikely victory in Dhaka, where rain had marred most of the second test between Bangladesh and the visitors.

Bangladesh would be ruled out with 87 and 205 and lost embarrassingly by one innings and eight runs late on day 5 – virtually losing the test on two days of play.

Confidence was low in the Bangladeshi camp, and captain Mominul Haque made a passionate argument at the post-match press conference about how focusing on results in Bangladesh cricket meant implementing a long-term process is almost impossible. A month later, Bangladesh have pulled out of arguably the biggest disruption in test cricket, beating New Zealand in the city of Tauranga on their way to an eight-wickets victory.

When Mominul Haque won the draw and chose to bowl first, Mominul Haque took a big bet by giving New Zealand a chance to score a first innings total of over 450. Despite a rough 52 from Will Young and Devon Conway scored a century (122) on the day. 1, some late wickets saw New Zealand end the opening day with 5-258.

With momentum taken from late on the first day, Bangladesh finished the New Zealand inning quickly, bowling the Black Caps for 328 – their lowest first innings total against Bangladesh at home.

By bowling New Zealand out for less than 400 on a Mt Maunganui surface where the best strike time was days 2 and 3, Bangladesh gave itself the best chance to post a big first innings total and push for a result.

Despite the wicket offering relatively low bounce, New Zealand’s tempo quartet kept trying to blow the Bangladeshi batteries out, instead of pitching it full. Bangladesh struggled hard with the bat, but Neil Wagner’s genius ensured that the Blackcaps were not completely down and out.

Neil Wagner

(Photo by Jeremy Ng / AFP / Getty Images)

That is, until Wagner lost the plot. In the 80th over with Bangladesh 3-192, the match was in balance as Haque had shot to Tom Blundell. But repetitions showed that Wagner had thrown a no-ball and Mominul received a lifeline. The New Zealand sailor swore in frustration and soon drove constantly Mominul for a period.

The Bangladeshi captain did not let Wagner’s barrage of words come to him, beating as Bangladesh’s striker Ashwell Prince had done in international cricket – grinding the bowlers down before playing shots for the loose deliveries. While Mominul missed a century with 12 runs, a fifth wicket stand at 158 ​​between Mominul and Liton Das (86) set the tone before Bangladesh’s lower order took them to 458 all out.

Even though the lead was below 150, Bangladesh had kept the New Zealanders out in the field for over 176 overs and some tired legs would have to hit on a Mt Maunganui wicket that started to get worse. New Zealand beat well as Will Young took New Zealand to 2-136 in the final hour of day four.

Enter Ebadot Hossain. The Bangladesh Air Force soldier who became a cricketer had an average of 81 with the ball before New Zealand’s second half. But a devastating period of reverse turn by the speedster caused New Zealand to collapse late on day 4 before being knocked out by 169 on day 5.

Ebadot finished with the numbers 6-46; the best of a Bangladeshi sailor off the subcontinent. Despite losing two wickets, Mushfiqur Rahim hit the winning runs in the 17th over as Bangladesh won by eight wickets in the first session on day 5.

This was not written in the manuscript. New Zealand media predicted nothing less than a comprehensive victory for the Black Caps. But Bangladesh showed up at Tauranga and played around and beat New Zealand with ease. At no point did the test match go towards a comprehensive victory for New Zealand. On the contrary, at the end of day one, New Zealand started playing catch-up against an inexperienced Tigers outfit.

The support staff in Bangladesh deserves a lot of credit. Head coach Russell Domingo (who was head coach of South Africa when the Proteas were the last team to win a Test series in New Zealand in 2017) has prioritized test cricket since the beginning of his time as Bangladesh coach, but has had to monitor home losses to Afghanistan and the Caribbean.

It has been tough, but he is slowly starting to reap the benefits of prioritizing red ball cricket. Using his South African cricket connections, Domingo has managed to get Ashwell Prince in as batting coach and former South African head coach Otis Gibson as bowling coach.

Gibson is a world-class bowling coach, and the way he managed to train Bangladesh’s tempo trio to remain disciplined and throw a stump to stump line was fascinating. Spin-bowling coach Rangana Herath (along with former spin-bowling coach Dan Vettori) both deserve a massive shoutout for the way they have managed to make Mehedi Hasan Miraz a more disciplined off-spinner, especially under conditions that does not return from day 1.

Finally, the New Zealand Cricket Board also deserves their share of praise. For years, they have invited Bangladesh to tour them and let the tigers improve under foreign conditions, despite being constantly hammered.

But Bangladesh has finally had their moment of success in New Zealand. This victory will make Cricket Australia and the English Cricket Board stand up and take into account; whether they will be competent enough to organize two test series once every few years is another matter.

January 5, 2022 is a date that will never be forgotten in Bangladesh. However, the job is still not done. With the second test starting in Christchurch on Sunday morning, it could open a few wounds for some of the Bangladeshi players who are returning to the city for the first time since they barely escaped death during the 2019 terrorist attack.

The Hagley Oval wicket will bring the New Zealand sailors into play, but Bangladesh have a couple of proper seamstresses ready to shoot if they need a fourth sailor. Bangladesh may never have a greater opportunity to make a name for themselves in Test cricket, and it is important that Domingo and his staff remind players of that.

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