From wins against Pakistan and India in the 1999 and 2007 World Cups, to qualify for the knockouts in 2015, and during the 2017 Champions Trophy, Bangladesh has had their fun ODIs. Test Cricket though has seen a few similar moments and the recent overseas win could be among their greatest moment.
Bangladesh came into the Test after an extended quarantine which saw some of their support staff test positive for Covid-19. The extended quarantine, left the players in a bubble for a longer time, and also played a hand in disturbing their practice. The lead up to the series as well hasn’t been great. Bangladesh went winless in the Super 12s stages of the World Cup, and lost to Pakistan in a two-day Test. Along with the lead-up, Bangladesh was without two of their most experienced cricketers in Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan. Mushfiqur Rahim was the only member of a famed generation of Bangladesh Cricketer.
The New Zealand side were Test Champions, and had an incredible record at home. Although Kane Williamson didn’t play, the sides home record is enough to instill fear in an opposition. Their history at home, against Bangladesh sounds even better. They didn’t lose as single game at home against Bangladesh in 21 years, across any format.
To make matters even worse, New Zealand won the toss and batted. Normally, batting first in New Zealand could be a bit of a challenge, but the pressure of a fourth-innings chase is something that can play on a young side. Batting first, New Zealand got off to a good start on day one, but collapsed on day two with a score of 258. Bangladesh then came in, and each wicket yielded some decent partnerships. The batters contributed well, and Bangladesh outplayed New Zealand to get a lead of 130 runs.
Bangladesh got to good positions in New Zealand on many occasions in the past but screwed up, and the fear of choking is not wrong despite the position. Bangladesh though didn’t choke like in previous encounters. They continued their relentless attack, and finished New Zealand off for 169. Ebadot Hossain took six in the second innings, and showed his side that pacers have a role in the national team after a season dominated by spinners across formats. With a monster spell, Bangladesh only had 40 odd to chase, and they achieved it with relative ease.
Both Mahmudul Hasan Joy, and Shanto received lots of praise for their performance after a poor series against Pakistan. Monimul Haque and Litton Das were also lauded for their first innings runs, as the batting line-up found new leaders in a famous overseas win. The fact that all these wins came in a time of struggle for Bangladesh will further encourage them. Mushfiqur Rahim as well, is one of those odd men in a young team. He is the most experienced member of the side, and after seeing years of struggle overseas, Rahim would have been delighted after hitting the winning runs.
Following the Pakistan disaster and World Cup struggle, there would have been a lot of soul searching in the Bangladesh camp. The side would have come in with no expectations on them, and the ability to play without any burdens helped as they came out roaring. The win is one that shows how Cricket could be surprising. In a time which has seen a few Test retirements, and with England struggling in Test Cricket, the win will also help secure the future of Test Cricket with another side starting to look competitive.
For Bangladesh, there will be lots to take away even if they lose the final Test. They won a Test with the help of their pacers, and this will show the board that Bangladesh has a good pace attack. The performance will now give the side something to build upon, as they build for further future challenges and potential great moments in their cricketing history.