For a couple of days in the First Test and for two sessions here in Chittagong, England's inaugural tour of Bangladesh looked like a contest. The home side competed and appeared worthy of Test status. In Dhaka they even gave themselves an outside chance of an unlikely victory.
Sadly, these moments were short-lived. The rest of the series resembled a match in the school playground between the Under-13s and the Under-19s. After a period of being gentle with the young upstarts the big boys, having received a couple of painful kicks in the shins, decided to throw their weight around.
The final rites yesterday were not pretty. While completing their 329-run victory, England battered Bangladesh with ruthless fast bowling. Richard Johnson, who added four wickets to the five he collected in the first innings, was the biggest bully, but in Matthew Hoggard and Martin Saggers the Somerset paceman found a pair of willing henchmen. These three (and some dreadful running between the wickets) dis-missed their meek opponents in just 37.1 overs for 138.
Michael Vaughan knows this is the easiest part of England's winter itinerary, and that tours to Sri Lanka and the Caribbean will be far more challenging, but the 2-0 victory - which moves England up to third place in the Test rankings - will have given him a great deal of confidence.
Because of the opposition it is difficult to judge how Vaughan performed on the field, but off it England have looked the part. The squad have trained as hard as any England touring side I have seen or been involved with. Vaughan and the coach, Duncan Fletcher, have created a superb work ethic.
Indeed, when this tour is eventually assessed it could well be that the culture which was created is the main positive. Away from the limelight, and in a country where the squad stay close together - because of the lack of places to go - Vaughan has had the ideal stage on which to lay down what he stands for.
Each player will have benefited in a different way. Marcus Trescothick, Nasser Hussain, Stephen Harmison and Johnson will have enjoyed the positive effect of their performances on their statistics. Chris Read and Rikki Clarke have gained valuable experience, and Hoggard proved that he can become the bowler that England's attack bowls around. The only cause for concern is the lack of penetration offered by the spinners. Sri Lankan batsman will not be as easy to intimidate and more will be expected from Ashley Giles and Gareth Batty, who claimed three of the 40 wickets England took.
The success of Johnson, who has now won the man-of-the-match award in each of his two Tests, is likely to cause a fair amount of debate amongst the selectors when they discuss the Test squad for Sri Lanka in December. Johnson is due to fly home after England's six one-day internationals in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but it is hard to imagine Vaughan will be happy to say goodbye to a bowler who has just won him a Test.
"Richard Johnson has given us a headache," said Vaughan. "It is not ideal to keep swapping and changing our bowling attack, but it has allowed us to have a good look at other players. Jonno and Martin Saggers have come in and done a very good job. Others also made the the most of their opportunities. Rikki Clarke has a wonderful future, and in a couple of years I could see him and Andrew Flintoff playing in the same side."
Bangladesh are by no means devoid of hope, but more is needed if Test cricket's most recent addition are to start winning. The fast bowling of Mushrafe Mortaza, the left-arm spin of Mohammad Rafique and the general enthusiasm of their players in the field made it competitive when England batted, but their own batting was woeful.
The shortage of facilities, and the lack of structure to the domestic game, will restrict their development, but the physical stature of the Bangladeshis will also make it hard for them to compete against bigger and stronger opponents. As a race they are slight, and this is a reason why they currently possess only one decent fast-bowler. Bounce is the thing which troubles batsmen most, and the lack of height in men here means they will continue to find it hard to produce quality bowlers.
These limitations do not excuse the batsmen, who, for the fourth innings in a row, had little idea of what to do when facing fast bowling. Batsmen from this corner of south-east Asia may be good players of spin but they are unlikely to see much of it unless they learn to play fast bowling.
Don Bradman, Sunil Gavaskar, Javed Miandad, Sachin Tendulkar. Some of the greatest batsmen in the history of the game were and are small men. But they proved, and continue to prove, that size is no excuse for not scoring Test runs. Each of these batsmen would admit that batting is not fun when a fast bowler whistles a ball past your nose at 90 mph. However, they learned to cope, and eventually used their size to their advantage. And it is only when the Bangladeshis start posting totals of over 350 that they will seriously threaten the other nine Test nations.
Bangladesh won won toss
England - First Innings 326 (N Hussain 76, M E Trescothick 60, R Clarke 55, M P Vaughan 54)
Bangladesh - First Innings 152 (R L Johnson 5-49)
England - Second Innings 293-5 dec (293 N Hussain 95, G P Thorpe 54)
Bangladesh - Second Innings
Hannan Sarkar c Read b Johnson 4
Javed Omar c Read b Saggers 18
Habibul Bashar run out (Saggers-Read) 21
Rajin Saleh c Read b Clarke 9
Mushfiqur Rahman run out (Vaughan-Hussain TV replay) 6
Alok Kapali c Saggers b Johnson 19
ÝKhaled Mashud c Read b Johnson 15
*Khaled Mahmud c Vaughan b Johnson 33
Mohammad Rafique c Read b Hoggard 0
Enamul Haque Jnr not out 1
Mashrafe Mortaza absent hurt 0
Extras (b4, lb5, w1, nb2) 12
Total (174 min, 37.1 overs) 138
Fall: 1-5 (Hannan Sarkar), 2-33 (Habibul Bashar), 3-51 (Javed Omar), 4-58 (Mushfiqur Rahman), 5-70 (Rajin Saleh), 6-91 (Alok Kapali), 7-108 (Khaled Mashud), 8-126 (Mohammad Rafique), 9-138 (Khaled Mahmud).
Bowling: Hoggard 12-3-37-1 (nb1) (6-2-14-0 6-1-23-1), Johnson 12.1-1-44-4 (nb1,w1) (5-0-20-1 7.1-1-24-3), Giles 5-1-11-0, Saggers 7-1-33-1, Clarke 1-0-4-1 (one spell each).
Progress: Fourth day: England declared at their overnight total. 50: 60 min, 13.5 overs. Lunch: 91-6 (Khaled Mashud 9, 25.3 overs). 100: 125 min, 27.3 overs. Innings closed 1.08pm.
Result: England won by 329 runs.
Umpires: Aleem Dar and E A R de Silva. TV umpire: Mahbubur Rahman.
Match referee: Wasim Raja.
Man of the match: R L Johnson. Man of the series: M J Hoggard.Reuse content