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With apologies to Masum Billah. As I write this, the Bangladesh innings lies in ruins. The tumbling wickets left in its wake a horde of despondent and morose fans.

Hours after the 4th day

Published: 22nd February, 2004

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With apologies to Masum Billah. As I write this, the Bangladesh innings lies in ruins. The tumbling wickets left in its wake a horde of despondent and morose fans.

Until the start of the Bangladesh 2nd innings, things were going according to our pre-match prognostications.

  • The last wicket stand between Manjural Islam Rana and Manjural Islam will last an hour or so (In actuality, 40 minutes)
  • Zimbabwe will bat till tea with with a goal to achieve a 350+ lead (In actuality, 353 runs when they declared)

So far so good. The ever hopeful Bangladesh fans had correctly predicted this scenario. While a win seemed implausible, it did not seem impossible. Our middle order had shown some steel. Mohammad Ashraful and Rajin Saleh seems to be in form. Mushfiqur Rahman and Manjural Islam Rana batted most ably. Habibul Bashar cannot fail again. Even the most pessimistic and cynical Bangladesh cricket fan must have harbored in his/her heart some tiny glimmer of hope.

353 runs in 104 overs.

An honorable draw seemed a reasonable expectation. We have shown we can bat through three whole sessions. We have managed to stem the unending stream of innings defeats. The sun in the Bangladesh flag shines a little brighter.

Then it happened.

One after another the Bangladeshi top-order marched back to the pavilion. A stream of rash shots (playing across, slashing and pulling), one unlucky dodgy decision (Mushfiqur's caught behind) and we were staring down the gun barrel at yet another humiliating defeat.

At least, Manjural Islam Rana and Rajin Saleh stemmed the rot and saw us through to stumps.

Still one run to go before we go past the lowest innings score in Test Cricket (New Zealand's 2nd innings score of 26 vs. England in 1955). It looks like we may edge past this, but the 4th day has been one for the record books.

It started well with two good ones for us:

  • The highest 10th wicket partnership for Bangladesh against any team - The 43 runs between Manjural Islam Rana and Manjural Islam eclipsing the 34 runs between Khaled Mashud and Mohammed Sharif vs. Zimbabwe at Chittagong during the 2001-2002 tour.
  • The third highest innings score by Bangladesh after the 400 we scored in the first innings in our first ever Test vs. India and 361 in our first innings of the second test vs. Pakistan at Peshawar.

And now for the bad ones:

  • Only the third instance a captain has gotten the golden double in his first match as captain. The first was M Taylor for Australia in 1994 vs. Pakistan.
  • The first hat-trick for a Zimbabwe bowler. Blignaut's hat-trick is the only the 33rd instance of a hat-trick in test cricket.
  • The 5th lowest innings score after the fall of 5 wickets. Lowest was 6 in India's second innings vs. England in 1952 at the Oval. The next lowest was 11 in Australia's second innings in the third Test of the 1896 Ashes tour in England. The 1896 Test also holds the record for the lowest scores for 7 (14), 8 (19) and 9 (25) wickets.

We are still in line to make new entries into the Bangladesh record books. Our lowest innings score eclipsing the 87 we scored in our 2nd innings vs. the West Indies at Chittagong in 2002. That same innings had 6 ducks. We may yet exceed that number.

Let us hope the 5th day dawns brightly for us. I mean that purely in a metaphorical sense. Barring miracles, rain is our only hope.

Acknowledgement: Some of the data obtained courtesy of rec.sport.cricket (David North) and Cricinfo StatsGuru.

 

About the author(s): Dr. Zunaid Kazi is an almost fanatical Bangladesh cricket supporter with almost non-existent cricket playing skills. He compensates for this deficiency by spending an inordinate amount of time following all things cricket. Zunaid is also an administrator at BanglaCricket and goes by the nick "Zunaid" and is affectionately or otherwise referred to as Doctor Z.

 

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