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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May, 2005, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
Next generation try to see the light
By Martin Gough
BBC Sport, Lord's

Bangladesh's first morning of Test cricket in England started brightly enough, but soon went sour.

A Bangladeshi fan shows his allegiance at Lord's on Thursday
A Bangladeshi fan shows his allegiance at Lord's on Thursday

Openers Javed Omar Belim and Nafis Iqbal played positively after being put in to bat by Michael Vaughan, as the England attack surprisingly struggled early on.

But their stand of 31 was the best of the innings, Omar's 22 the highest score.

There remained some hope in the Edrich Lower Stand, where pupils of St Paul's Way School were making their own first appearances at the home of cricket.

But after their week of activities with BBC Radio, even that was being expressed with a healthy dose of realism.

"I was hoping for Bangladesh to do a lot better but it's England isn't it," 14-year-old Syed Ali told Test Match Special.

"It's not looking good for Bangladesh but you never know, England could slip up and Bangladesh could take hold."

Emrul Islam joined him on a trip around the NatWest Media Centre during the tea interval, and had a chance to meet England great Graham Gooch.

He said of the day out: "It's been good - but not so good for Bangladesh."

By stumps it was looking even worse for the tourists, England having overhauled their first innings 108 in less than 22 overs and looking to bat through Friday.

He's 16 years old and he played quite well today. He's trying his best
Schoolboy Syed Ali on Mushfiqur Rahim

Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore has emphasised the need for gradual personal improvement as his side strive to pull themselves up the Test rankings.

But Whatmore, whose expression often gives away far more than his words, must have had steam coming out of his ears as his batsmen trudged back to the famous pavilion.

Iqbal prodded Steve Harmison lamely to slip, captain Habibul Bashar top-edged a pull that ill-befitted a captain and Aftab Ahmed slashed Andrew Flintoff to slip.

The last five wickets fell for 19 runs in the space of just 33 painfully embarrassing deliveries.

If Whatmore was looking for positives he would only have found one in the play of Mushfiqur Rahim, the youngest ever Test debutant at Lord's.

Originally selected for the tour as a back-up wicket-keeper, Rahim won his place after scoring a century against Northamptonshire in a tour match.

Syed Ali, Graham Gooch, Emrul Islam
Syed Ali and Emrul Islam meet England great Graham Gooch

He showed arguably better technique than any of his compatriots in facing 56 balls and it took a peach of a delivery from Matthew Hoggard to dismiss him.

Unfortunately, though, the scorecard will just show him dismissed for 19.

"He's 16 years old and he played quite well today. He's trying his best," said Syed up in the TMS box.

Emrul added: "Bangladesh cricket team are improving - they're playing against one of the best cricket teams in the world and I think they're going to do well."

At St Paul's Way, where 85% of the pupils come from the Bangladesh community, the future is bright.

Fifteen-year-old Maruf Hassan Chowdhury spent the eve of the Test in the Bangladesh nets after an invitation from Whatmore.

But the all-rounder told BBC Sport a fortnight ago he would like to play for England if he makes it to the international stage.

Syed told TMS: "I'd play for England, Bangladesh, whoever."

But just one day into their first Test series in England, the immediate future for Bangladesh looked far more gloomy.


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