Home > Cricket > India's tour of Bangladesh 2004 > Report
Bangladesh tottering towards defeat
Deepti Patwardhan |
December 19, 2004 13:55 IST
Last Updated: December 19, 2004 17:35 IST
Mohammad Ashraful struck a Bangladeshi record 158 not out but could not inspire his team to fightback against a rampant Irfan Pathan on the third day of the second Test against India on Sunday.
Despite Ashraful's classy knock, the hosts missed their follow on target by eight runs as they were bowled out 30 minutes after tea replying to India's 540 all out. The tourists then enforced the follow-on.
Pathan got into the act and claimed five wickets to leave the hosts tottering on the brink of defeat at 118 for 9.
India came out on the third day with a plan to bounce out the Bangladesh batsmen. They had a reason to do so; Mohammed Ashraful is a fearless player and Habibul Bashar has a weakness for the shorter ball. The Bangladesh captain was out in both the innings of the first Test trying to hook.
And he started shoddily. Pathan fed him a bouncer and the batsmen instinctively swung his bat for the pull. The ball hit the bottom edge and lobbed over the bowler. The Indian strategy seemed to be working well; Ashraful was also struck twice on the body trying the hook shot.
But the youngster got the ball rolling when he picked Pathan for two boundaries early on, one a neat flick off the pads and the other a streaky four to third man between the slips.
When Zaheer started digging the ball in Ashraful was up to the challenge.
Zaheer, bowling round the wicket, angled the short ball on leg; Ashraful got under it and hit it for six over fine leg. Inspired by the authority of the youngster, Bashar was finding his touch too.
The two pulled and hooked merrily as the Indian bowlers overdid the short stuff. The fielders at the fine leg and square leg boundaries were mere spectators as the ball whizzed past them many times. While Ashraful swirled and hoicked the ball behind sqaure, Bashar, who was seeing the ball early, hit the pull shot in front of the wicket.
The runs were starting to flow at a quick pace as Bangladesh smashed 59 runs in seven overs. They had gone past 100 runs and built a partnership of 70 runs in 92 balls.
India persisted with the fast bowlers even though the pitch was scruffed and the spinners had done all the damage on Saturday.
Most of the runs coming square on either side of the wicket were a result of the barrage of short balls from the Indians. By the end of the session, Bangladesh had 78 runs on the leg-side. a clear indication of the lenght that the Indians were bowling was that only two runs had come straight down the wicket. The batsmen were not being allowed to drive when that is exactly what the Indians should have been trying to do.
Kumble came on to bowl an over before lunch. And immediately made the breakthrough. In his second over of the day, Bashar tried to step down the track. The ball turned past the edge of the bat and Dinesh Karthik collected the rising delivery superbly and whipped the bails. (124 for 4)
He was lucky to survive a difficult caught and bowled chance by Pathan the over before.
Ashraful, having lost his captain, continued to bat positively. The 20-year-old brought up his 50 in 70 balls and went past 1000 Test runs. He has played 23 matches to reach the landmark but his average of 24 plus is hardly an indicator of his talent and grit.
Aftab Ahmed, playing only his second match, had to counter with Kumble and Harbhajan attacking him with five fielders round the bat. Ahmed didn't try to compete with the brilliance of Ashraful but kept the scoreboard ticking.
He enjoyed a enjoyed a stroke of luck on eight as umpire Mark Benson of England turned down a confident leg before appeal by Kumble. He play Kumble on the backfoot and was hit on the pads adjacent to the middle stump but Benson reckoned otherwise.
Ashraful looked confident against the Indian spinners and picked his spot easily. By the end of the first session he had scored 62 runs from 99 balls, and 49 runs on the leg side. He had just one run through the 'V'.
After the initial domination over the pacemen, he went down on one knee and hit the spinners over mid-wicket. He was also instrumental in giving Bangladesh their most productive session of the Test series.
The hosts scored 120 runs from 29.3 overs during the morning session. Ahmed hit the last ball before lunch from Sachin Tendulkar for a single through point to complete the 50-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Post lunch session
If Mohammed Ashraful is the future of Bangladesh cricket, the country has a lot to look forward to. He made history the first time he walked in to bat when he became the youngest batsman to score a century on debut.
After that fairytale beginning in 2001 in Sri Lanka, Ashraful waited for three years before reaching the three-figure mark again. And he did it in style against India.
A glorious morning gave way to further mayhem at the wicket. Ashraful and Ahmed came out from lunch on an unbeaten stand of 50 runs and quickly made India fume in the sun.
Ashraful brought up the 200 for the hosts with two classical cover-drives off Irfan Pathan. And then picked up the ball off his pads, rolled his wrists over and hit it to the mid-wicket fence. It was three boundaries in a row for the little man.
At 20, 'hanging around' isn't very exciting. Ashraful had come out and taken the Indian bowlers by the scruff of the neck
In just about a session and a half, he had made a potent Indian attack bow to his command. The Indian bowlers stared in disbelief as he went about his business. He was audacious when he should have been guarding his wicket with every bone in the body.
On 92, he attempted the reverse sweep of Harbhajan Singh and pulled it off without any drama. With just four runs to go for his century, Ashraful continued on his merry way. The next ball was hit over mid-wicket to the fence and the young man had reached a splendid century.
His expression hadn't changed much since he walked in, but the hundred brought a flood of emotions. For the first time, Ashraful looked ecstatic. Off came the helmet and he raised his arms to the ovation from the crowd, his teammates and even the opposition.
He bent down on the knees, kissed the pitch and hugged an equally young Aftab Ahmed at the other end.
The confidence was rubbing on and even Ahmed got on with his shots. Pathan was trying desperately to get the ball reverse swing, but Bangladesh held steady.
Ahmed cut Pathan through point for two fours and then hit a big six off Harbhajan. He had moved into the 40s, Bangladesh has packed in 38 runs in 25 minutes after lunch.
Ashraful needed a little time to settle in after scoring the hundred. The joy was overwhelming and the batsman flicked a ball from Zaheer just wide of short mid-on. Laxman dived full length and got his hands to the ball but wasn't able to hold on.
After adding 115 runs for the fifth wicket, Anil Kumble trapped Ahmed in front of the stumps. Ahmed played back to the leg spinner's flipper and was given out leg before wicket. (239 for 5)
Manjural Islam Rana was outy for a duck, trapped leg before wicket to a ball that was angling in from Zaheer. (240 for 6)
Rana was Zaheer's 100th wicket in Tests and it had taken him 37 matches to reach the landmark.
Bangladesh still needed 101 runs to save the follow on. Khaled Mashud and Ashraful scored 60 runs in a hurry. Mashud was nicely complementing the centurion and running hard between the wickets.
Zaheer struck in his first over with the new ball. Mashud pushed at a ball that slightly swung out into Karthik's hands. The bat had hit the pad just as the ball angled out, but the umpire ruled him out. (300 for 7). The Bangladesh wicketkeeper was out for 22 from 44 balls.
When tea was called Ashraful was batting on 140 off 174 balls. He had been able to up the scoring rate with the help of 21 fours and two sixes.
The experienced Mohammad Rafique was holding fort at the other end on four.
Post tea session
India had only Ashraful to contend with in the last session of the day. Rafique, as always, was swinging his bat around for everything. Talha Jubair and Nazmul Hossain were unheard of.
Bangladesh resumed on 312 for seven and three overs later had slipped to 312 for 9.
Pathan got the ball to bounce sharply on Rafique. The ball slid off his shoulders and went straight to Laxman at second slip. The umpire called it out.
Jubair was bowled in between an afternoon nap. Pathan pitched the ball outside off and swung it in to peg back the off stump. The bat didn't move, everything was over before Jubair could even contemplate knocking the ball.
Bangladesh's four hours in the sun were to be undermined, but not before Ashraful provided the last cheer.
Stranded on 140, he was running out of partners. A Bangladesh record, for the highest Test score, beckoned and there were 29 runs to be added to save the follow-on. Ashraful decided to take charge of things. He started with a beautiful cover-drive off Zaheer Khan.
An in-swinging delivery was picked for another four past mid-on as Ashraful recorded the highest individual Test score by a Bangladesh batsman. He overhauled Aminul Islam's 145 against India in 2000 in Bangladesh's inaugural Test.
With his score on 148, he met Zaheer's short ball early and dispatched it to the mid-wicket boundary. He was thriving on the pull shot all day and used it handsomely to bring up the 150.
Zaheer bowled another short ball that rose only waist-high, Ashraful was trying to duck under it when the ball struck him. Even in the chaos he found the presence of mind to run down the other end and retain the strike for the next over.
Pathan came steaming in; Ashraful picked the ball from his legs and lofted it over the mid wicket fence. An astonishing shot and it more than defined the true class of this Bangaldeshi batsman. This innings could very well prove to be the making of Ashraful.
Bangladesh needed only eight runs to avoid follow-on. On the last ball of the over, Pathan tried a shorter one. Ashraful didn't offer a shot and Hossain tried to sneak a single. But Karthik was alert to the situation and ran out Hossain.
Bangladesh's first innings had finished on 333 from 90.6 overs, just seven runs short of the follow-on target, and the Indian captain made them follow-on. The hosts had ruled for most of the day; now it was India's chance to dictate terms.
Bangladesh second innings
The session after tea had proved better for India and having claimed two wickets and enforced the follow-on, India proceeded to show the vast gulf in the class of the two sides.
Pathan got the first balls to pitched in line and swing in to trap Nafis Iqbal right in front of the stumps. India had been given the perfect start.
For the first two overs, the runs came for Bangladesh without doing anything. Their score had raced on to 14 with no runs off the bat. Zaheer Khan, running in hard from round the stumps, was bowling a wayward line with Dinesh Karthik and the slip cordon were only guessing which way the ball would go. The wicketkeeper was throwing himself around and Rahul Dravid was trying harder to get out of the firing line.
Javed Omar was struggling on two and pushed at a good length delivery from Zaheer. The ball clipped the bat and went to the wicketkeeper, but Mark Benson didn't hear the edge.
Omar didn't stay too long as he was caught behind trying to turn down the ball round the corner off Pathan. (30 for 2)
In the same over, Pathan snapped the wicket of Aftab Ahmed. The batsman was forced to play at an out going delivery and Karthhik pouched the catch.
Ashraful had a sore hamstring after his efforts in the first innings and was unable to bat at his normal position. So instead the experienced Mohammad Rafique walked in.
It turned out to be another short, swift innings. He whacked four boundaries off the Indian pacers to end up with a 22 from 21 balls before a short ball from Pathan flew off the bat to the gully region where Virender Sehwag stepped in and completed the catch. (75-4)
It was turning out to be another sordid Bangladesh innings. Captain Bashar was hit on the pad plumb in front of the stumps to give Pathan his third five-wicket haul. After two ordinary sessions, the left arm bowler was finding his rhythm.(76 for 5)
He could have got another wicket off the very next ball but Laxman, at second slip, gave Manjural Islam Rana a life.
It was Kumble's turn to take the honours. In two overs he got the wickets of Rana and Ashraful.
Rana gave an easy bat-pad chance to Gautam Gambhir at forward short leg (77 for 6) and then the unbeaten centurion of the first innings was out leg before wicket.
Ashraful, still tired from his first innings effort wasn't fluent with his strokes as was out for 3 from 13 balls. (78 for 7)
The batsmen were falling like nine-pins. The Indian spinners, now, had gained control. Harbhajan first picked up Khaled Mashud on six as Rahul Dravid caught the dipping ball near his bootlaces. (80 for 8)
Umpire Mark Benson again found himself in thick of things as he ruled out Kumble from bowling. The light was deteriorating and the umpire thought the leg spinner was would be too fast to spot.
The ball was given to Tendulkar and Mortaza faced him with a smile on the face. He pulled the first ball for a four, tried to repeat the shot two balls later off a long-hop and hit it straight to Harbhajan Singh at deep mid-wicket. Even Tendulkar couldn't believe that he had picked up a wicket and seemed to suggest that the ball had slipped from his hands. (84 for 9)
Talha Jubair looked to do what genuine tail-enders do; use the long handle to good effect. Harbhajan Singh was picked for two fours and then the same treatment was meted out to Tendulkar.
Nazmul Hossain joined in and hit the last ball of the day, a half volley, past mid-off. The last wicket added 34 runs in 19 balls and Bangladesh, like they did in the first Test, narrowly missed being bowled out on the third day.
They were hanging by the straws on 118 for 9 when play was called off due to bad light, with Hossain on 8 and Jubair on 25.