The joy and surprise of Bangladesh's upset

New Zealand hadn't lost at home in 17 matches, Bangladesh had won five Tests away from home in their history.

Bangladesh just did something that will bring their nation pure joy. They sent kids to New Zealand, expecting nothing at all, and these young men found unexpected light from utter darkness.

The best hugs come from the most unexpected places. I am not sure this could have been more surprising, it was like expecting a beating only for the person to embrace you warmly and slip twenty bucks in your pocket.

Bangladesh beating New Zealand could be the biggest upset in Test cricket history. You will hear that a lot from people because recency bias is a wonderful thing, but they may well be right in this case.

There really haven't been that many great upsets in Tests. The game was set up so the better team wins at a higher rate than many other sports. And then we just stopped letting new teams in. Ireland and Fiji beat the West Indies outside of Test matches and Ceylon defeated India. But they're all unofficial.

In ODI and T20Is we have all of Kenya's great wins, Ireland over Pakistan, Zimbabwe over Australia and the double wins of the Dutch among many others.

In Tests, the list is much shorter. In recent times, Sri Lanka beating South Africa at home was a huge upset in 2019. But Sri Lanka were going up against a slipping South Africa who were not as good as New Zealand. And Sri Lanka had beaten Pakistan overseas in 2017 and England in 2014. It was a proper upset, especially as they won the series. Still, they were a struggling major nation beating another.

Zimbabwe beat Pakistan in 1995, but while that sounds amazing, it makes more sense when you look at the two teams. Zimbabwe had Flowers, Campbell and Houghton up against Wasim Akram and not many other bowlers who took Test wickets. The best batter in Bangladesh ever is arguably Tamim Iqbal, and he's not here. This win was also in Harare. But it was Zimbabwe's first win; it's certainly a contender for biggest upset.

New Zealand have two great ones, including beating Pakistan in 1969. But Pakistan were not a great side then. And their second series win was over West Indies in 1979. Yeah, that West Indies. But also it was early in that run. I think it counts, but again, it was at home. And with home umpires (please see Michael Holding kicking stumps). Plus New Zealand did have Richard Hadlee. Bangladesh's greatest player is Shakib Al Hasan - and he is not playing here.

India defeating England in 1971 was undoubtedly a huge upset, but probably not even the biggest upset at the Oval by an Asian team. India's other big win was against a solid Australian team in 1959 at Kanpur. It's worthy of note but again was at home, though they were massive underdogs.

Oh, and that bigger upset at the Oval was Pakistan beating England in 1954. Pakistan did theirs on their second-ever tour. They had Fazal Mahmood, though. Not Ebadot Hossain. Mahmood was already unplayable, and you had an outside chance of winning any Test with him in the team, a bit like Murali or Hadlee. Ebadot averaged 81 coming into this second innings, is a military volleyball player, and in 11 Tests had taken more than one wicket on two occasions.

Ebadot wasn't even the only young unproven player. This was a near work experience level team, even by Bangladesh standards. People are already saying the lack of older players here helped. But there is a lot of talent back home watching this on TV.

That leaves us with just a bunch of weird South African matches. We don't think of them as strugglers, but like Bangladesh, their early period in Tests was very tough. But as late as 1952, they were a very poor team, so them winning two Tests against a quality Australia side was certainly an upset. Though it's hard to know how good they were at that point because they only played white teams.

In 1935 they came to England and won a single Test, enough to win the series. But they had beaten England at home, even if it was five years earlier. Though no one was expecting them to win in '35.

But perhaps the biggest upset - at least before today - was when South Africa beat England in 1905/06. At that point South Africa had played 11 Tests against really poor England teams, and even a tired Australian side right off the boat. All at home, and still they'd only had a single draw as their best result. It's hard to explain how bad early South African cricket was. And then, bang, they beat England, and they do it 4-1. But again it was at home, and it also wasn't a full-strength England team. New Zealand weren't full strength here, but they were pretty close. And Bangladesh were weakened even more.

If you want to look at it statistically, I think Russell has that covered with some numbers.

I've chatted to historians and statisticians, plus I'm a combo of both. Any way you look at this win, they are near the top of the charts. If not number one. What Bangladesh has done is remarkable.

New Zealand won the World Test championship. But obviously that was a flawed event with a one-off final. And New Zealand were also number one ranked - but the rankings are also flawed, and they are no longer at the top. India is certainly the better all surface team, and Australia might be superior as well. But New Zealand has the best performing batting lineup globally, and most probably the best four-man seam group. Their only weakness is a spinner, and at home, that doesn't really matter so much.

New Zealand has lost four of their last 43 matches at home. This is their first defeat in 17 Tests. In that time their batters have averaged 42 runs, and their bowlers 28. They're 14 runs per wicket better than the tourists.

And who was travelling there, a team that had won five matches ever away from home. Two of those were against fairly poor Zimbabwe teams. Another two were against a strike hit West Indies' lineup. And their biggest overseas win was 2017, against Sri Lanka in Colombo. That was a big win, but in conditions that assisted what they did. They certainly helped Shakib, who took wickets and made runs.

That match, and the two wins against Australia and England at home, had to be their biggest wins. But this is enormous and more surprising than any of those three.

Because of how good New Zealand has been and how poor Bangladesh had been. They lost a Test to Pakistan at home when Pakistan's first innings finished just before tea on day four. They let a bowling all rounder making his debut for the West Indies anchor a chase of nearly 400, and they lost their other Test against them too.

Bangladesh had won two of their previous 14 Tests. Not only were they supposed to lose, but it was assumed it would be an incredibly short series. They wouldn't be able to get through New Zealand's batting, and they'd be bounced out by Wagner, and destroyed by Jamieson. There was nothing in their recent history, lineup or their game that suggested this was going to be a contest, let alone a win.

And it's not just recent form is it, Bangladesh have struggled since they got to Test cricket, and even before.

Their rise to was random and included many losses to teams like Denmark. But they have a long, proud cricket tradition which I covered in a Double Century podcast.

But I want to focus on something else in Bangladesh's history. In 1969, New Zealand won their first Test series vs Pakistan. But the final match was in Dhaka. Bangladesh wasn't even a nation then.

Over 50 years later, Bangladesh have their first major win away from Asia in New Zealand. Their biggest win.

We can all argue on whether it is the biggest upset ever. At a certain point that doesn't matter. What does is that Bangladesh just did something completely remarkable. It might be their most surprising and biggest win ever. But right now for Bangladesh, it's the joy that matters.