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Bangladesh in 2005
09 Jan 2006
By: George Roberts

After several years of drought in the desert, Bangladesh took the first fruitful steps toward the Promised Land in 2005. The year kicked off with their first Test series victory, where the combination of youth and experience in spinners Enamul Haque jnr and Mohammad Rafique proved the downfall of an internally collapsing Zimbabwe team. The following ODI series was a harder struggle though, as the Tigers edged out the tourists three games to two.

A first-ever Test tour to England then beckoned, when the Bangladeshis were brought down to earth with a firm bump. It was not until the second innings of the second Test that the Bengali batting began to acclimatise, and an inexperienced, lacklustre attack, bar the lively Mashrafe Mortaza, failed to take more than three wickets falling in either match.

The three-way one day series looked to be going in a similar direction, when Bangladesh lost by ten wickets to England at The Oval. Cue Mohammad Ashraful to centre-stage in Cardiff, where he smashed a brutal, boy's-own stuff century to sink the faltering Australian steamroller, and inspire wild partying on the streets of Dhaka. More brilliance from Ashraful came up at Trent Bridge, albeit after the England batsmen had made a mockery of the Bengalis and posted 391.

Following the highs of England, hopes were high when the team departed to Sri Lanka in September. However a combination of team infighting, injuries to the seam attack and poor shot selection meant the Bangladeshis were to return home both winless and disjointed.

There is a bright future though, as the Bangladesh Under-19 team hammered both of their English and Sri Lankan counterparts, taking a triangular series whilst losing just one game in the process. The lessons of England and Sri Lanka have been learnt, and the talent pool should continue to swell.

Test Player of the Year 2005: Enamul Haque jnr
ODI Player of the Year 2005: Mohammad Ashraful
One to Watch in 2006: Mushfiqur Rahim

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