Cricket’s Vietnam, almost
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After years of being trampled upon by the big bad guys of international cricket, Bangladesh stood up to and asked to be noticed. Sadly, not knowing what that required, they promptly stumbled again. It was a brave fight nonetheless and Bangladesh were a lap ahead in a two-lap race. Then they froze, winning became a burden, an unknown path and they lost their way. Some might say that is an education in itself, but few Bangladeshis will be willing to accept that.
Australia won because they knew how to win. At the end of day two, Adam Gilchrist said they were looking at ways of winning from the position they found themselves in; 145 for 6 in reply to 427. At the end of day one (Bangladesh 355-5), Habibul Bashar said they wanted to bat another two sessions so that they could save it.
Sometimes we are condemned by our past and it poses a tricky question. Does winning lead to belief or does belief make a team win? Bangladesh are waiting for the former, not winning, and therefore not believing in themselves. They won't get too many better chances to get out of this trap.
Indeed, for a major part of the match, they had Australia in jail and the keys in their pocket.
Australia seemed to be in a trance. At most times they make things happen, here in Fatullah, exhausted and with their minds back home, they allowed themselves to believe that things would happen. It is one of the great realities that sport teaches us: if you just turn up you get a kick up your backside.
Till Australia woke up to the reality of the challenge it seemed like it would be cricket's Vietnam. The big bully against the plucky guerrilla in the latter's terrain. It wasn't to be, and I fear Bangladesh will get weighed down by disappointment. They now need to look ahead; rather than bury their heads and think of what might have been, they need to go out and face a new day with no runs on the scoreboard. It will not be easy but that is why you play sport.
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