In the game of cricket there is no underdogs as the results of the matches of any form is unpredictable. Any team team upset their opponents if the game is played like a game of chess with every move counts in a winning cause. No match is won or lost until the last ball is bowled and this was proved in two close games. Thus no team is given the tag of underdogs in International cricket. West Indies blow the chances of England achieving an unassailable 2-0 lead and equalise the series and are hopes of winning the series also.
Again, the Bangladesh side upset the applecart Australia in their own game and won by 20 runs to achieve an early lead in the series. We can expect nail biting finishes so long as test matches are played and test cricket came to life at Headingley and in Dhaka to the surprise of cricket fans. Test cricket is not dead and Hope’s each innings century, the first one at Leeds changed the course of the series. Shakib Al Hasan made up for the juniors in the side with an all round show. Bangladesh script history in Dhaka and West Indies made a match of it in a memorable comeback after 17 years. Bangla side won at their their backyard but West Indies made victory meaningful on an away series. It is indeed a toast to underdogs in International cricket.
Within two days the cricketing world witnessed why it is often said that the game of cricket is a great leveller and how it has been proved after 17 years of International cricket when 1960 world champions West Indies beat England by five wickets and the match touched the last hour stage to get a decision. Bangladesh claimed historic test victory by 20 runs and it was a thrilling finish. Thus two teams playing “Ashes” suffered ignominy of an upset defeat.
Cricket lovers were amused to witness renaissance of cricket. Two Ashes teams have lost, one at home and one abroad. But what babes Bangladesh did at home to justify their place in Test cricket is really remarkable. Earlier they have defeated England and now Australia in consecutive test matches at Dhaka-the first time for both the countries.
Test cricket is today at the crossroads. Will it incorporate changes to survive changing times? Or, will it allow itself to become irrelevant in the coming years and die a natural death? Five-day matches in recent years have either been lopsided affairs or have been uninteresting. Therefore, the couple of Test wins in England and Bangladesh recently have probably sown the seeds of a revival of interest in the traditional form of the game. At least, that is what die-hard followers like me think high of Test cricket all the time.
The beleaguered team from the Caribbean Islands handed high-flying England a 5-wicket defeat in the second Test at Headingley, Leeds. The former had suffered an innings defeat at Edgbaston in the first Test and had been ridiculed by most cricketing pundits Bangladesh, on the other hand, won a close, nail-biting Test match against the itinerant Australians at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Dhaka. It is always fascinating to see underdogs win. But both, the West Indies and Bangladesh, will now have to prove in the Tests that follow that these were no ‘flash-in-the-pan’ victories. What is more important is that both these cellar teams assure their followers that they are as good as any amongst the Test playing nations of the world. Test cricket has come alive and we hope that the traditional game will attract more crowd in the days to come.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)