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Last Updated: Monday, 10 January, 2005, 12:34 GMT
Bangladesh win means most to fans
By Martin Gough

Bangladesh players celebrate their maiden Test
Bangladesh celebrate their maiden Test win in Chittagong
It took four years and 35 Test matches but on Monday Bangladesh were finally celebrating their first victory in Test cricket.

And to their celebrating fans, their opponent was a Zimbabwe side severely weakened by selection rows counted for little.

The forum at was abuzz with fans from around the world congratulating a side for whom the nickname Tigers had become something of a joke.

"A win is a win is a win," said razabq. "I don't believe the ICC is giving any asterisks to results attained against Zimbabwe.

"History will show that Bangladesh got its first Test win before India and New Zealand. That's it - bottom line."

Our team is on the rise, and this win will only boost our batsmen and our team's morale
Message board poster al Furqaan
New Zealand took 45 matches, spanning 26 years, to emerge victorious, while India went 25 games over 19 years before their first win, although 12 of those were draws.

And that was before the lesser teams were regularly exposed to the best sides in the world under the glare of a critical worldwide audience.

There were those, including former coach Gordon Greenidge, who suggested Bangladesh were not ready for Test status when it was handed down in 2000.

But other sides before them, including their most recent predecessors Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, have taken time to get used to the highest level.

Under new coach Dav Whatmore they came close to upsetting neighbours Pakistan last year, coming within a single wicket of victory in Multan.

"A win against Zimbabwe will definitely rank higher in my book than the near-miss against Pakistan," said Banglacricket moderator pompous.

Coach Dav Whatmore and captain Habibul Bashar
Coach Whatmore and captain Bashar have played a major role
"When [captain Habibul] Bashar said before the start of the series that Bangladesh will be battling two opponents - Zimbabwe and complacency - he had missed out one other great opponent.

"I am talking about Tigers' ignorance of what it takes to actually win a Test match."

Whatmore, a former Test cricketer for Australia who played a major role in his native Sri Lanka's 1996 World-Cup victory, played a major role.

He took the target of the team away from the daunting challenge of winning a Test towards the more manageable steps of continual improvement.

Whatmore will no doubt celebrate this victory heartily, but will not let his players lose that focus.

Back on the message board, al Furqaan admitted: "In my eyes the win is tainted slightly because it's a weak Zim.

"But look at the bigger picture: our team is on the rise, and this win will only boost our batsmen and our team's morale."

Whatmore's other major achievement has been to bring through younger players, and convince the selectors to allow them a decent chance to find their feet.

Mohammad Ashraful scored an unbeaten 158 in a Test against India in December, giving the side the confidence that brought a one-day international victory later that month.

Pace bowlers Mashrafe Mortaza and Tapash Baisya have made great impressions, while spinner Enamul Haque Jr repaid the faith with a match-winning 6-45 against Zimbabwe.

Said pompous: "Believe me, you will see a different Bangladesh take to the field from now on, a more confident Bangladesh, a team that knows what is to be a winner."

Next on the Bangladesh itinerary are games at Lord's and Chester-le-Street against England in early season conditions.

But the Tigers are now filled with fresh optimism, as displayed by their fans keeping in touch via the internet.

Said Zunaid: "I have no doubt that this win will be disparaged by the usual naysayers. Let them be.

"We have more important fish to fry. And we hope to gorge on some English fish and chips this summer."

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