Youth equal to the test at Lord's

Bangladesh's Tamim and England's Finn are impressive as the visitors make a good fist of following on in the first Test, writes Paul Radley.

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Bangladesh's Tamim and England's Finn are impressive at Lord's, writes Paul Radley Some of the accepted stereotypes about cricket need to be revised. Like the theory about Twenty20 being the young man's game, and the inference that Test cricket is thus the habitat of fuddy-duddies. Sachin Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis, a pair of 30-somethings who are already considered Test greats, belied the first half of that concept when they dominated the Indian Premier League, the premier 20-over competition, earlier this year.

And the past two days of Test cricket at Lord's have been the preserve of two 21-year-olds, one a Bangladeshi batting prodigy and the other a gangling English quick bowler. Injuries permitting, Steven Finn can plan for a winter in Australia on this evidence. The menacing Middlesex fast-bowler might as well send his measurements to the tailors now for his team-issue Ashes gear, having picked up six wickets so far on his Test debut.

Another item of received wisdom which needs reassessing is the one about Bangladesh being easy-beats. They have never beaten England, and will not do so today either. But the gap between the Test game's oldest nation and its newest is growing ever closer. The way Tamim Iqbal, their fine left-handed opener, took apart the England bowling attack suggested the emergence of a new batting star on whom Bangladesh can build their future.

His century was reminiscent of the way Aravinda de Silva sent the England bowlers to all parts of Lord's on his first appearance there for Sri Lanka. De Silva went on to become a modern great, a rise which paralleled the coming of age of his own nation on the cricket field. Bangladesh do start them early, and Tamim is an experienced 21-year-old, certainly more so at international level than Finn. The merit of youth is often doubted in the Test game, but Tamim won a lot of admirers with the way he went about rectifying the massive first-innings deficit Bangladesh were facing.

As a caveat to that, he was playing the equivalent of T20 cricket for most of his innings, in particular as he struck 34 runs from 11 balls either side of his half-century. His was the fastest Test century at Lord's in 20 years, since the Indian, Mohammed Azharuddin's brisk ton in the historic match of 1990, an effort that was rather overshadowed by Graham Gooch's 333 and Kapil Dev's four successive sixes.

One swivel-pull which went to the boundary like a bullet immediately prompted comparisons to a "left-handed Gordon Greenidge" from the commentary team. It was not far off being Brian Lara-esque, either. Cricket's landscape may be ever-changing, but some things do stay the same. Bangladesh's main failing since their acceptance into Test cricket a decade ago has been their lack of game-sense, which has perpetuated their losing habit.

They have never been without talent, but are usually out-thought by the opponents. And Tamim proved the point yesterday. It seems harsh to criticise after his innings was studded by such eyecatching strokeplay, but his mode of dismissal was disappointing. He hooked well on his way to 103 from 100 balls, but should have put the stroke away before he fell because England had posted three players stationed on the boundary waiting for the shot.

England 1st innings 505 all out Bangladesh, 1st innings (237-7 overnight) Mahmudullah b Anderson 17 Shahadat b Anderson 20 Rubel c Cook b Bresnan 9 Robiul not out 9 Extras 3w, 2lb, 1nb 6 Total (all out, 93 overs) 282 Fall of wickets: 1-88; 2-134; 3-179; 4-185; 5-191; 6-221; 7-234 8-255; 9-266; 10-282 Bowling: Anderson 31-6-78-4; Bresnan 24-5-76-1; Finn 25-5-100-4; Swann 11-6-19-0; Trott 2-0-7-0 Bangladesh, 2nd innings Iqbal c Trott b Finn 103 Kayes c Bell b Finn 75 Siddique not out 66 Jahurul c & b Trott 46 Ashraful c Prior b Anderson 0 Shahadat b Bresnan 0 Al Hasan not out 2 Extras 2w, 4b, 8lb, 1nb 15 Total (5 wkts, 85 overs) 328 Fall of wickets: 1-85; 2-189; 3-289; 4-321; 5-322 Bowling: Anderson 20-6-66-1; Bresnan 20-5-88-1; Finn 16-4-66-2; Swann 25-4-80-0; Trott 4-0-16-1