Regular readers know I have an improper team-crush on Bangladesh. It’s not just that they’re perpetual underdogs; I actually think they’ve got some good players. And despite having a horrid first day at Lord’s against England, they came back nicely today, reaching 170-odd with only two wickets down.
If you chart Bangladesh’s rise as a team, you’ll notice some key landmarks met along the trajectory towards the target: a Test match victory. Some key players have started reaching milestones (Test hundreds, five-fors); they have met with some success in the ODI arena (though spotty, I admit); they’ve scored some impressive draws as well. But I don’t think their first win against a major cricketing nation will come outside their countries. It defies the pattern set by other teams and traditional logic (home advantage matters more in cricket than other sports). Most South Asian teams — notoriously, India, for example — have always been bad travelers.
So is there anything to hope for this series? Maybe a draw or too (some help, please, English weather). But also, more landmarks met. The key to winning — and this will sound stupidly predictable — is to have good players. And good players become good once they get into a groove and make runs or take wickets.