Stuart Broad (left) consoles a devastate Sabbir Rahman after the end of the first Test    AFP
Stuart Broad (left) consoles a devastate Sabbir Rahman after the end of the first Test AFP

Bangladesh were neither expected to win against England, nor were they backed to play the way they did in the first Test at Chittagong. The Tigers , however, punched above their weight, took the game into the final day, and went down fighting by a narrow margin of 22 runs. For the winning team, had it not been due to their problems against spin and the absence of James Anderson, the win could have been far more convincing than what it was. But for Bangladesh, perhaps the only shortcoming that came forth was their inexperience. The hosts did conjure up inspiring performances, but what they lacked the most of the experience of winning in such situations. FULL Cricket Scorecard: Bangladesh vs England 1st Test at Chittagong

Yes, the inexperience of Bangladesh was the biggest reason behind their defeat in the first Test. Ever since they made their Test debut, at the dawn of this millennium, Bangladesh have not really got into the groove as far as Test cricket is concerned. Their fortunes have certainly improved in playing limited-overs cricket at home, but in Test cricket, Bangladeshis can be said being in a transitional phase the one in which they are trying to take lessons and methods from shorter formats into the conventional one to win games.

But so far, neither their performances have demanded more Tests from the stronger teams, nor have the others obliged to the need of playing more against Bangladesh in order to make them better. As a result, Bangladesh find themselves not having travelled far in Test cricket despite it being a journey of 16-long years.

The fault, perhaps, begins with India. One of India s greatest cricket administrators, Jagmohan Dalmiya played a massive role in Bangladesh getting Test status back in 2000. But ever since then, it is India who have played the least Tests against Bangladesh when compared with the other Test-playing Asian teams. Pakistan have had as many as 10 Tests against Bangladesh, which also includes one at Multan during the Asian Test Championship in 2001-02. Sri Lanka have been the most kind, with 14 Tests against the Bangladeshis, who have also toured the island nation several times. These numbers are greater than India s, who have played only 8 Tests till date despite playing a critical role in Bangladesh becoming a Test-playing country despite strong opposition.

It is not just the number of opportunities which the other Asian teams have provided Bangladesh in Test cricket. The fact that cricketers improve significantly on the road rather than playing in favourable home conditions and India are guilty of depriving Bangladesh of that as well. The upcoming one-off Test early next year at Hyderabad will be the first-ever Test for the Bangladeshis in India, and to say the least it is over-delayed.

Their inexperience might have played a strong role in first Test, but Bangladeshi cricketers cannot hide behind it for long. Their captain Mushfiqur Rahim has played 49 Tests, Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal have played 43 each, Mahmudullah has played 28 Tests and their star batsman Imrul Kayes, who made his Test debut eight years back has played 25 Tests This is a lot when the recent England debutants are looked at, as many of them such as Ben Stokes, whose number of Tests are just in their 20s.

Bangladesh were always expected to excel and punch above their weight in the Asia Cup T20 and the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup tournaments that were held earlier this year. But once the T20 extravaganza got over, Bangladesh went into oblivion as the remaining of the cricketing powerhouses got busy playing each other multiple times. Australia, who cancelled their tour of the Asian country last year, did not even bother finding out time to have a short series against Bangladesh. Instead, they had as many as four different series against South Africa in the year 2016.

And if Australia s rejection is, if at all, compared with the English enthusiasm to brave the Bangladeshi conditions, it must be kept in mind that the England team will be taking this particular tour as a big learning curve for their upcoming trip to India. There is that hidden motive whether England deny it or not, and Bangladesh, in return, cannot complain.

Between the conclusion of ICC World T20 2016 and their three-ODI series against Afghanistan, the Bangladeshis just had nothing. The desperation to play made some of the top Bangladeshi cricketers speak about it in the media even on the day they lost to England at Chittagong and the game s caretakers, like toothless lions, could not even do a little to help the Asian side which was clearly in plight.

Maybe, somehow, this English victory in the opening Test at Chittagong does not carry a lot of meaning. England were expected to stutter against spin, but since they are a far better professional outfit compared to the hosts, their performance could have been better than this. But their top-order was dismissed for cheap in both the innings, which tells that the Bangladeshis had a few things going in their way in the opening Test.

Bangladesh can be disappointed with the outcome but a long period of contemplation is not required. First, their margin of defeat was very low. They challenged England in almost every facet of the game and this performance should help them draw confidence going further into the series. Had they scored more runs in the first innings, maybe, this game could have been closer than what it was. Had the debutant Sabbir Rahman looked to take more strike and score runs rather than exposing the tailenders on the fourth day evening, it might have been a different tale as well. But none of that happened, and Bangladesh remained deprived of a victory which they might have registered at last.

Meanwhile, England live to fight another day. Had they lost this Test, there may have been an invisible panic button being pressed by someone in that English dressing room, as this seven-Test long Asian sojourn has just begun. A defeat would have posted some tough challenges, and hopes for Anderson s speedy recovery would have got more wind. But with a favourable result at the end of a memorable and thrilling Test, England have the right to feel confident about the journey ahead.

(Devarchit Varma is a senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)