Divy Tripathi looks at what makes the win at Mount Maunganui really special for Bangladesh.
The shorter the format, the easier it is to find an upset. In the longer forms of the game, there are generally more opportunities for the stronger team to make amends after they have taken a misstep or two. For instance, Ricky Ponting’s invincible Australia managed to find a way out of a quagmire in Fatullah to continue their unbeaten run in 2006.
At many stages of that particular Test, Bangladesh came close to succeeding against their mighty opponents, something that their fans could only have dreamt of. And though beating that Australia team was a near-impossible task, more so for a young international side which had won its first-ever Test barely a year previously, the thought wasn’t as preposterous as it might appear to some today. After all, only a few months had passed since Mohammad Ashraful guided Bangladesh to a miracle at the Cardiff ODI in 2005.
Bangladesh got the better of the world champions in what was one of the greatest upsets in the history of the game. To put things in context here, Bangladesh had a tough initiation at the highest level of the game after being granted the Test status. They were the whipping boys of the elite game, this holding true for both formats. Their win against a team which was undefeated during the 2003 World Cup (Bangladesh failed to win any game, including one against non-Test playing Canada) was an unexpected moment of glory.
What it did show was that Bangladesh under the right guidance, had enough talent to turn it around and match even the best. Since then they have come a long way: with relative success in World Cups and an increasing competitiveness in all formats, particularly at home.
But Bangladesh weren’t able to develop their game away from home. This is what makes Mount Maunganui victory yet another unexpected moment of glory for cricket. Before this tour, their only overseas wins had come against a second string West Indies side in 2009, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. Their game in Test cricket hadn’t been at its best of late, they had lost a one-off Test to Afghanistan in 2019, and lost a series at home to West Indies last year.
But still Bangladesh managed to fight it out and pull off a win against the reigning world Test champions. They were competitive on day one, but dominated the game on day two. And after that they never really looked back. Any anxieties on how things might go based on history, were put to rest on the fifth day.
We don’t know whether this will translate into greater glories or if Bangladesh will repeat their past mistakes, but for now Mominul Haque’s men are at the top of the world, and rightly so.