Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Updated: Monday, January 10, 2005
The victory tastes so sweet


Four years and two months ago, on a lovely Friday morning when Shahriar Hossain let a ball from Srinath go by the outside off, Bangladesh sailed on her maiden voyage to the unknown vast of Test cricket. Many balls have since passed by both off and leg sides and many runs have scrolled down the scoreboard, but a test win for Bangladesh has never come by.

The fanatic cricket nation missed a heart beat or two at the fourth day of the third test against Pakistan in Multan two years ago as the win slipped through their grasp. The lone win still remained elusive when the packed Chittagong gallery booed their captain once so passionately called Chacha, the fighter. Forty thousand fans spontaneously erupted in a standing ovation to young Ashraful when he crafted a chanceless innings, they didn't even mind to batter their vocal cords at the beats of the drums to cheer the tigers up but the victory never comes any closer. The taste of a shy test win gets sweeter and sweeter day by day, match by match for Bangladesh.

Exactly four years and two months after the inaugural test match against India, Bangladesh takes on Zimbabwe at the MA Aziz Stadium just outskirt of Chittagong on the final day of the 1st test of the series having the first-ever Test victory firm and clear in sight. But coming to this 10th day of January took much more than just four years and two months.

Never before in the history of Test cricket, a nation had to suffer so much public criticism, humiliation, denigration and degradation. Even the ICC came hard on its own decision to grant Bangladesh the elite status when it started to explore a way to demote a nation full of passionate cricket lovers.

Bangladesh, with her first generation of young and inexperienced players, managed to show credible performance against the likes of ruthless Australia, king Lara's West Indies, formidable Pakistan and ever challenging England. Unfortunately, the records of youngest centurion, test hat-trick and even the smallest margin of defeat failed to enchant the quibbler's heart.

Legends after legends came to steal the limelight to call for the demise of the 10th test playing nation. Reporters after reporters ran riot in inventing words and phrases to shower Bangladesh in endless humility. At one point it seemed like there will be no living well wisher out side of Bangladesh as the chorus grew louder and louder. It was a sickening experience for a nation so fond of cricket, who so lovingly and proudly call themselves the 'Tigers'.

Just when there seemed to be no end to this ignominy, the tigers bounced back to roar against a nation, arguably the second best in the world. The bite was so fierce that the skipper had no other option but to make an immediate u-turn to his earlier comments on the so-called n-tier system. The whole world watched in absolute silence as the tigers ripped through the Indian lineup. Youngest test centurion to-date, Mohammed Ashraful proved too much for the Indian attack. Mashrafe, Bashar, Rajin and Aftab showed their new found confidence and class. India will never see the Tigers the same way again for years to come.

For the Tigers, it was an electrifying event to say the least. They never knew what they had missed before, the drum beats, the flags, the eruptions, the ultimate joy of playing in ourown back yard with families and friends around and what not! Now that they know it, they are hungry as ever and the Zimbabweans could not have come any sooner.

Rajin continues from where he left off with the Indians. Bashar picks up his old self without a hitch. Rafique greets the batsman, one after another in the middle as if he owns the pitch. Mashrafee dances around flexing biceps terrorizing both batsmen and bowlers. Young Enam took the role of a silent killer. There is no better time for the Tigers to register their first test win.

And they did so in style, dominating the opponent from the very first minute. They made the Zimbabwean sweat mercilessly under the blazing sun for almost two days and with equal cruelty, lured them to bat only to make them surrender 4 wickets at the close of the second day. Zimbabwe managed to avoid the follow-on, thanks to the heroics from their skipper and his mates, but suffered continuous tightening and never recovered. The Tigers overwhelmed the hapless opponent on the final day.

The 10th ranked test playing nation seals its first test victory on the 10th January, 2005 exactly fours years and two months after gaining the elite status.

Habibul Bashar, Khaled Masud, Nafis Iqbal, Javed Omar, Mohammad Ashraful, Rajin Saleh, Aftab Ahmed, Mohammad Rafique, Enamul Haque jnr, Tapash Baishya, Mashrafe Mortaza and Talha Jubair will never be the same when they go on to play again. They are no more paper tigers as the detractors would say. They have come of ages and sure will be eager for more wins. A win is a win but this really meant much to Bangladesh, to the players and to the fans.

The evening is never too short for the celebration. Let the students, professionals, kids, fans take the control of the streets one more time to celebrate and taste the victory that finally finds its way to a new home to stay a very long time.