The 6,000-odd spectators got off their seats and danced every time the ball went beyond the ropes. Anyone who came to the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium late on Thursday, the final day of the Test, and didn’t see the scoreboard would have thought Bangladesh were coasting along to a historic victory over India.
The truth, however, was quite the opposite. Bangladesh’s mindless strokeplay had wiped out the chances of even securing a draw in the first session itself, let alone cause an upset. It was a matter of time from then on for India to wrap up the match, which they eventually did by 113 runs.
Both the crowd and the Bangladesh batsmen missed the woods for the tree. The batsmen thought hitting the Indian bowlers out of the park was the only way to chase the 400-plus target, and ended up throwing away their wickets.
The recklessness on their part, however, doesn’t take away anything from the efforts of the India quicks. There was little assistance for them in the wicket, but Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma extracted bounce and carry. Ishant, in particular, consistently moved the ball away from the right-handers, and occasionally got one back into the batsmen.
To make a match of it, the hosts needed Mohammad Ashraful and Tamim Iqbal to hang in there. Ishant, however, forced an edge off Ashraful and then trapped Raqibul Hasan in front with an incoming ball.
Having tasted success early, the India bowlers were getting on top. The hosts needed Tamim to stay, especially after he got to his fifty. But with a few minutes for lunch, he edged Virender Sehwag straight to Rahul Dravid in the slips.
The late heroics by wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, who scored his maiden Test ton, was more of a personal battle against the No. 1 Test side. Rahim displayed an array of shots in his 114-ball knock and was the last to fall. He was harsh on Amit Mishra and Sreesanth. It was Mishra who finally got him, but, despite the leg-spinner’s four-wicket haul, Harbhajan Singh was missed.
On the flip side, as far as India are concerned, they lost VVS Laxman for the series after he injured his finger on Wednesday. Besides, India could lose Sreesanth as well as the medium pacer, in the third over of his second spell on Thursday, retired midway clutching his hamstring. Manager Arshad Ayub, however, brushed aside the concern on Sreesanth’s injury saying it wasn’t serious.