Manchester, England: Bangladesh goes into the second test with England at Old Trafford from Friday looking to sustain its improvement and silence critics who continue to question its test match credentials.
Bangladesh ultimately lost the first test against England at Lord's, but demonstrated its improvement by forcing England to toil for four days and two sessions to finish off an opponent it was expected to beat comfortably.
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan feels his side is tantalizingly close to making a breakthrough in the test arena.
"We know we will win some games if we win sessions, day by day, but we need to improve our bowling, especially in these conditions," he said. "At home we can depend on our spinners, but here we have to depend on our fast bowlers, so they need to learn quickly." When the sides meet at Old Trafford, Bangladesh will be aiming to avoid defeat for the first time against England.
Disappointment at losing by eight wickets at Lord's was tempered with pride in a competitive performance by its batsmen. The highlight was a flamboyant 103 in the second innings from Tamim Iqbal, who said he had been inspired by some characteristically blunt remarks about his country by the former England opener Geoffrey Boycott.
"I saw him commenting that Bangladesh should not play test cricket," Tamim said. "I felt very bad and I could not sleep till 1a.m. It made me determined to do something to show him. "They are senior cricketers who we respect. We expect them to respect us as well, I wanted to prove to the world that we are getting there."
England coach Andy Flower concurred. saying "other people have talked Bangladesh down, but we haven't." "We respect them. They fought very hard in Bangladesh and they fought very hard here."
The gap between the sides was no wider than the gulf that separated England from Australia or the West Indies just a decade or two ago, when ritual English humiliation was the norm. And statistics confirm the impression that Bangladesh is improving.
Its aggregate score in the first test at Lord's was 664, it
Tamim's stand of 185 with Imrul Kayes for the first wicket of the second innings was a new record for Bangladesh and the top three batsmen all scored 50 in a test innings for the first time.
The problem lies with the bowlers, derided as 'minor counties' standard by Boycott. Although Shahadat Hossain became the first Bangladesh bowler to take five wickets at Lord
England will be without Tim Bresnan, who suffered a stress fracture to his foot during the first test.
Ryan Sidebottom has been drafted into the squad and will vie for a place with the uncapped Yorkshire seamer Ajmal Shahzad, who was 12th man at Lord