England lose to Bangladesh after 'gruesome' batting collapse
Crushing defeat for Cook's team doesn't bode well for India tour, but could be good for global cricket
The knives are out for England's cricketers after they slumped to a first ever defeat to Bangladesh in the second Test in Dhaka.
Set 273 to win, England appeared on course at 100 without loss at tea on the third day. But there was a bloodbath in the evening session as Alastair Cook's team lost all ten wickets for 64 runs in 22.3 overs to gift the home side a 108-run victory.
"England didn't just lose to Bangladesh. They lost ten wickets in a session to lose to Bangladesh in a museum-quality display of poor batting that should be hidden from the sick, the elderly, the pregnant or those with heart conditions," rages George Dobell of Cricinfo. "It was a Halloween horror so gruesome that Quentin Tarantino would censor it for being gratuitously grim.
"Perhaps the most damning aspect of this defeat from an English perspective is that it was hard to deny the painful truth that the better team won."
It was an extraordinary end for England, says Mike Atherton of The Times. "English cricket and batting collapses go together like rum and water but rarely in the annals of the game has there been such a collapse as this," he marvels.
It also leaves England in tatters ahead of the series against India that starts next week.
"It is hard not to fear for them in India where they will encounter similar conditions and tougher opponents," says Dobell. "A five-Test encounter seems daunting and, perhaps, unwisely long... a one-sided series does nothing for Test cricket's future."
But that's what lies in store, says Jonathan Agnew of the BBC. "If England do not lose 5-0 in India they will have played well. That is not being pessimistic; it is being entirely realistic," he says.
However, the victory will do great things for cricket in Bangladesh.
"From a global perspective, this was a good day for Test cricket," says Dobell of Cricinfo and Atherton of the Times agrees. "Having been the whipping boys for so long, this was the most memorable day in Bangladesh’s 16-year Test history, only their eighth win, after five over Zimbabwe and two over a weakened West Indies."
Bangladesh fans not only have a famous victory to celebrate, they also have a new hero in the form of teenage offspinner Mehedi Hasan, who took six wickets during the collapse to finish the match with 12 and take his tally to 19 in the two-match series.
Fittingly he took the final wicket to fall, that of bowler Steven Finn, as Alastair Cook's team capitulated in shocking fashion.
"Not since Laxmanan Sivaramakrishnan, who took six wickets in three consecutive innings in India in 1984, or Shane Warne in the 1993 Ashes series has a relatively unknown spinner had such a mesmeric impact on England's batsmen," says Atherton.
But English cricket fans should " find a sense of perspective", says Rob Bagchi in the Daily Telegraph. who laments the "instant hyperbole of damnation" among modern fans.
"A cricket lover's entitlement metaphorically to chuck rotten fruit at the team is very much their own affair," he says, but argues that there "have been far more shameful episodes in the recent past than collapsing to defeat by Bangladesh in the humidity of Dhaka on a turning pitch".
"Yes, it was a humbling defeat in its manner but that may not be a bad thing in the long term," he adds. "The only shame would be failing to learn from it."