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
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
Still one run to go before we go past the lowest innings score in Test Cricket
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
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.