Uncertainty is the lifeblood of sport and so this series has made for compulsive viewing.
As the Test Match Special Twitter account put it yesterday.
Things in Dhaka have continued where they left off in Chittagong!
Again, the momentum has reversed in a matter of minutes. pic.twitter.com/HrAaFvYfSa
— Test Match Special (@bbctms) October 29, 2016
Ah momentum. Fickle, whimsical momentum.
We started watching at tea today. England had pretty much skittled Bangladesh and sauntered to 100-0. It was way, way better than we had expected. 14 seconds later, England had lost 10 wickets and the Bangladesh players were doing a crazy bouncing dance in the outfield.
Bangladesh, Boshladesh, Kapowladesh
Shakib-al-Hasan’s been solid for years, but now that they can have Mehedi Hasan bowling at the other end, Bangladesh have gone up a level. As we said last week, they appear to have reached a tipping point. They’re no longer looking to merely compete. They now see a way in which they can win. Flat Bangladeshi pitches may become a thing of the past.
Mehedi took 19 wickets in the series. That’s the kind of contribution which could easily prove decisive over three matches, let alone two. We likened him to Muttiah Muralitharan last week in terms of his importance to the side and the workload he’s likely to shoulder. This win feels very much like the time Murali took 16 wickets against England in the one-off Test in 1998.
Before that moment, even if England often said the right things about Sri Lanka, their actions (one-off Tests) told the true story. Respect had been not so much earned as demanded at knifepoint.
Throughout this series, pundits have spoken about getting young players into the England side to see what they could do ahead of the India series. The subtext – that the Bangladesh Tests were of far less significance – was obvious.
Now, as the England team exits the country with a draw, there will be a moment of ‘wait, what?’ among some people as they realise what has taken place. You never know, this might even mark the moment at which people stop routinely taking out scores against Bangladesh when presenting players’ Test batting averages.