Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bangladesh in figures

Another appalling day for Bangladeshi test cricket. They were bowled out for a pittance – 62 in just 25 overs. The Sri Lankans, taking advantage of the good conditions, closed on 154-1.

Tim at the Third Umpire questions whether the Tigers are making any progress at all. I have long mumbled about their disappointing form in test cricket. Of course, it would be hysterical to draw-out a comparison to Zimbabwe in their dying days, but their persistent failure is disheartening.

To their credit, this is the lowest innings total in Bangladesh’s short test-playing history. However, low scoring is not an unknown phenomenon for the Tigers. Here is a list of their last ten scores:

148 (50) - L 1st Test v Aus in BD 2005/06 at Fatullah
197 (61.2) - L 2nd Test v Aus in BD 2005/06 at Chittagong
304 (80.2) - L 2nd Test v Aus in BD 2005/06 at Chittagong
238 (68.2) - D 1st Test v Ind in BD 2007 at Chittagong
104/2 (28) D 1st Test v Ind in BD 2007 at Chittagong
118 (37.2) - L 2nd Test v Ind in BD 2007 at Dhaka
253 (57.3) - L 2nd Test v Ind in BD 2007 at Dhaka
89 (32.3) - L 1st Test v SL in SL 2007 at Colombo
254 (87.1) - L 1st Test v SL in SL 2007 at Colombo
62 (25.2) – 2nd Test v SL in SL 2007 at Colombo

They have only passed 250 twice. It is the number of overs played, shown here in parenthesis, that shows you the character of a side. A weak team may not have the shots, but it can seek to maximise its chances by lasting as long as possible. Bangladesh have failed to survive let alone grit out a draw. They rarely reach the new ball.

Batting aside, their overall record is revealing. They have played 47 tests, and have lost 41. They have registered only a single victory – against a side that is deemed too feeble to play test cricket. Of these loses they have lost by an innings 27 times (66%). They have managed to draw a test only fives times, against India (1), the West Indies (1) and Zimbabwe (3).

In terms of player quality, the picture does not seem promising. When they started playing test cricket, the average player score was 24, and their bowling average was 46. These statistics have now worsened, batters managing only 20, and the team concedes 72 runs for each of their opponent’s wickets.

Using most objective measures, Bangladesh have not improved and even appear to be deteriorating. Below is a cumulative cross-tabulation for tests taken before first and second wins.

TeamTests before first victoryTests before second victory



New Zealand






Sri Lanka






The most favourable comparison is with New Zealand, who took 45 goes to secure their first victory. Regular readers will know that I am not a fan of Kiwi cricket. To me, they are spring onions in the potato salad – a nasty, unwanted surprise in an otherwise creamy mix.

But, they’re a reasonable test side now. Better than some, worse than most.

Nevertheless, their player batting average started in the mid-twenties and even fell to 19 in the 1950s. Since the 1980s, it has settled at around 30 – like any respectable side.

I don’t think the under-achieving and boring type of cricket produced by New Zealand is the best model for Bangladesh. But, to be honest, it’s the only hope they have. Judging by these figures, the Tigers look bopped to me.

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