My top five moments from Bangladesh's 100 Tests
In 2000, Bangladesh gained Test status and in 2017 they played their 100th match in the format. From gaining Test status when I was a teenager, to winning their first Test when I was at university, to taking days off my current job to watch them bat - I have literally grown up alongside Bangladesh’s Test journey.
There are going to be plenty of articles looking at the highs and lows since Bangladesh gained Test status in 2000, but I wanted to write something more personal. I’ve chosen five matches that were significant, perhaps self-indulgently, in the world of a nerdy cricket fan.
Bangladesh vs India, Only Test, 10-13 November 2000, Dhaka
India won by 9 wickets
I was 13 when I first learnt that Bangladesh had a cricket team. They were in England for the 1999 Cricket World Cup and some of my dad’s friends had been to see them play a warm-up match in Gants Hill. I’ve no idea who they were playing and Google has never provided any answer as to what they were doing in East London that day.
A World Cup and an ICC meeting later and we were at our first ever Test match. I’d always had a weird fascination with Bangladesh’s performances in world sports. Before cricket, this mainly involved checking where the national football team currently stood in the latest FIFA world rankings (usually around 150th) - but now we had an international team that was in the Top 10 of something. And this was huge!
But for me, this was a massive learning curve. I knew Test cricket existed - but only really in the summer holidays. This was the match where I’d learn everything from scratch.
I learnt that page 340 on Ceefax would be my friend and I learnt what a scorecard looked like. I learnt all the abbreviations, the fielding positions, and how a Test match actually worked.
Perhaps most significantly though - I learnt who the team were. It was a bit like playing Football Manager and taking on a German Division 3 side that you’d never heard of. The team were just names on a scorecard. No context, no history, no idea what they looked like. Aminul Islam became the first name I forced myself to remember - seemed logical given he scored a century, thus temporarily becoming Bangladesh’s best ever Test batsman.
When Bangladesh scored 400 in the first innings I thought this was the norm. In a weird way, it’s ironic that I didn’t learn what a follow-on or an innings defeat was in this first match, because those two phrases would become staples in the years to come. I learnt what a collapse was though - we were bundled out for 91 in the second innings and lost by nine wickets - but that wasn’t the point. The point was that we were off the ground and I had a new team to support.