Final
Bangladesh beat England by 108 runs in the 2nd Test Getty Images

England were 100 for 0 at tea, requiring 173 more to win off four sessions against a team that was playing Test cricket after a span of 14 months. Come on, that would be a walk in the park, for England have Alastair Cook, England’s highest run-scorer in Tests; Joe Root, England’s to-be second-highest run-scorer; Ben Stokes, England’s highest run-scorer this series. Too many ‘highest’ in a sentence suggests what batting force England boasted off. And the opposition was Bangladesh ranked five places below England in ICC Test Rankings. The prediction was no-brainer: England win series 2-0. FULL Cricket Scorecard: Bangladesh vs England, 2nd Test at Mirpur

But, remember how forms and fortunes change in cricket? There are many a tale of the greatest of teams being dismantled in matter of a session. In this case, dismantled would be an understatement, for England lost 10 wickets in 22.2 overs. Is obliterated the word we are looking for? All the same, a certain team from Down Under would have had a wry smile on its face when they stumbled upon the news. And then, a certain subcontinent team would have jotted down notes to give England a similar treatment. Let us not make a mockery of the situation. Win or lose, it is all part and parcel of the game a clich most modern-day commentators as well as cricketers (and me) bore you with.

All said (joked) and done, what exactly went wrong for the Englishmen? How on earth a team of England’s calibre lose the plot? Did they not take Bangladesh seriously?

There are many a question that are resonating in the brain of an arm-chair cricket-fanatic.

For that matter, England won the first Test by 22 runs. And at the end of the day, it is the result that matters.

But England had already exposed their weaknesses not one or two but many. On the other hand, Bangladesh had already recognised the chinks in England’s armour. They had done their homework and were all set to surprise the cricketing world.

If truth be told, as an unbiased cricket journalist, I had expected Bangladesh to get the better of England not because they have the knack of upsetting the big guns but England were in no position to play Test cricket in subcontinent conditions. Why, you ask?

Let us rewind a little. Sri Lanka beat Australia 3-0. Do not forget, Australia were No. 1 team. But eventually, they ended up being at the receiving end of domination. Their batters were caught in a spin web, and their spinners could not unleash a similar one. Same was the story with England. At least Cook and his men were lucky that the opposition was not one of the mightiest forces such as Sri Lanka.

In the first Test, England scored 293 and 240. None of the batters could reach a three-figure mark. In addition, none of their spinners could take a stunning 5-wicket haul thanks to Bangladesh that they made mistakes and dug their own grave, for England did not deserve to win the match.

In the second Test and as you would know, England scored 244 and 164. Meaning, they failed to cross the 300-run mark throughout the series. As a matter of fact, even New Zealand could not score 300 in the three-Test series against India. But the Kiwis at least managed to punch well above their weight. They put up some fight, did they not? In their defence, they locked horns with Virat Kohli’s numero uno India. This very fact should defend their case.

Coming back to the same point, England faced Bangladesh a team they had defeated nine consecutive times before the shocking defeat. No hundreds, no five-wicket hauls, no match-winning performances: England lacked character.

Their batsmen, especially, failed to come good as a unit. Inside-edging onto the pads to the short-leg, rocking onto the back-foot that should have been played otherwise, and what not: England batting unit failed to apply themselves. They appeared unprepared, to be honest.

In that case, most of the players had already played 3 ODIs before the start of the Test series. Compared to other Test cricketers such as Cook, Stuart Broad, among others, they had enough time to get accustomed to the conditions. But a different format, a different story…

England failed the test of endurance. They displayed no tenacity. Not that the team was thin on numbers and talent, but there was no intent whatsoever.

Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid did their best, but they could not match Shakib Al Hasan and Mehedi Hasan’s magic. They bowled well but in small spells. They simply could not maintain the consistency. On the other hand, their pacers did a commendable job, making the ball reverse-swing. In fact, whatever impetus was provided was all catered by the pace unit.

England are scheduled to play 5-Test series in India. Some of the tracks will be square turners; if not, India have Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to make the ball turn. In fact, Jadeja does not even need to spin the ball. Ask Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and Michael Clarke for that matter.

India rank no. 1. They recently whitewashed New Zealand. A year ago, they reduced South Africa to nothingness. And they are led by Kohli (let us not even further explain him). It is safe to say that India are brimming with confidence. In addition, India lost three consecutive Test series against England. Hence, the wounds still are fresh.

To put things into perspective, if England do not weld the chinks, they might face a 5-0 defeat. No, it is not an overstatement, for India are a mighty force to reckon with, especially at home.

(Kaustubh S. Mayekar, a reporter at CricketCountry, played cricket at U-16 level. Like his idol Rahul Dravid, he often shadow-practises cricket shots. His Twitter handle is @kaumedy_)