One off Test Bangladesh Vs India Played at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium Hyderabad, India
India 687/6 ( V Kohli 204, M Vijay 108, W Shaha 106 * C. Pujara 83, A Rahane 82 , R Jadeja 60* , Taijul 3/156 ) & 159/4 ( C Pujara 54*)
Bangladesh 388 ( Mushfiqur Rahim 127, Shakib Al Hasan 82 , Umesh Yadav 3-84) and 250 ( Mahmudullah 64, Ashwin 4-73, Jadeja 4/78) .
India won by 208 runs on the stroke of Tea on the Fifth Day.
Bangladesh lost the one off test by 250 runs the first ever played on Indian soil 17 years after it got its official test status in 2000. By the margin it may sound one sided . But those who followed ball by ball progress of the match will tend to agree with me that Bangladesh fought tooth and nail with all they had for creating contest. With a little bit of luck and more commitment from top order batsmen they should possibly salvage a win. For a number ten ranked team playing the top of the packed on a wicket that almost became a mine field for celebrated Indian spinners R Ashwin and R Jadeja defending a huge lead it could a huge morale booster achievement .True Bangladesh could not achieve that but batting over 100 overs in each match in both innings it announced its appearance on India soil very strongly asking questions to ICC and BCCI why they are not invited to play on Indian soil more often?
Well it was not a completely one sided encounter . Bangladesh had their moments too in the match . True Bangladeshi bowlers could not bowl consistently well through out the only innings they bowled . True India batted like champions in their innings especially arguably the best batsman of present day cricket V Kohli . His double century appeared business as usual for him. Vijay, Shaha , Pujara , Rahane , Jadeja could bat the same way against more potent attack on Indian soil . Bangladesh at times fielded poorly or otherwise it could be very different . But the way Bangladesh batted against probing pace ( traditional swing of Kumar , hostile bowling and reverse swing of Yadav and Ishant , accurate and penetrative spin attack of Ashwin and Jadeja deserves special accolades.
Bangladesh scored 388 + 250 = 638 runs in two innings playing 127.5 + 100.3 = 228.2 overs is no mean achievements . Remember Bangladesh was responding to a huge 687 /6 Indian score. World witnessed on several occasions in recent times who irresistible Indian bowlers can be on such circumstances . England lost 4-0 to India in recent past . New Zealand , South Africa and even Australia did also struggle in not too distant past. I would rather say Bangladesh was not disgraced . If they played test cricket more regularly against top teams they could salvage a draw at least.
Going back to review the match in retrospect Bangladesh has lot to take heart from their performances . Perhaps risking Mushfique just coming out from injury in wicket keeping duty in addition to premiere boatmanship and leadership was perhaps not a smart decision . He looked pretty ordinary behind the wicket . Bangladesh losing the toss and fielding on the first day was an early disadvantage . The wicket was really flat at the start. Yet Taskin made a dream start removing Rahul in his very first over .Rabbi and Taskin had very probing first spell .With a little bit of luck they could remove Pujara or Vijay early on. There were many play and miss and few edges dropped short . Mushfique did not go for an edge of Pujara off the bowling of Rabbi . There was a comedy of error on a very easy run out when both the batsmen were stranded in one end . Rabbi sent a full blooded throw at the bowlers end but Miraj was in front of the stumps rather than backing up. A golden opportunity went a begging .Bangladesh paid very heavily for these lapses . All Indian batsmen excepting Rahul punished Bangladesh attack . 686 runs by the start of the third session on the second day of a test match can be match winning for India on Indian wickets any day against any team.
Bangladesh was not much deterred though they lost some early wickets . Soumya got a quality ball swinging late and had a faint edge . His was the only wicket to fall on day two. Bangladesh lost Tamim through a run out in a very novice manner . Mominul could not last long. Neither did Mahmudullah .But both made a start but failed to consolidate. Shakib and Mushfique than had a brilliant fifth wicket partnership 107 . Shakib was at his brilliant best striking the ball very sweetly . Mushfique with his dogged defense was a picture of patience and reliability .But belligerence of Shakib failing to restrain himself brought his downfall in his attempt to lift Ashwin unnecessarily while at 82 . A little bit more commitment from him could make a huge difference for the cause of the team. Shabbir could not last long. Miraj joined his captain . The youngster batted brilliantly for the first time in his brief test career . The talented all rounder was struggling to come to his own with the bat so far playing two each poor tests against England and New Zealand. But on the last hours of the third day against spinning deliveries of Jadeja and Ashwin he batted superbly for his maiden half century. Mushfique was looking solid like the Rock Of Gibraltar at the other end. The pair remained unconquered on day three .Bangladesh ended the day on 322/6 still 364 runs in arrears . The 7th wicket pair added 87 runs . It promised a lot .But on fourth morning Miraj failed to a clever in swinger of Kumar in the very first over .Mushfique was left with the tail. He had to take total control . The way he raced to his century his second in consecutive test in trying conditions against major opposition must be rated one of the very best in recent times. If only a genuine batsman was with him in the other end his 127 could be extended still bigger and Bangladesh could at least eat away some more time from the match. Yet a score of 388 batting bravely for 127.5 overs against a very potent Indian attack was no mean achievement. It forced Kohli in batting again for giving his tired out bowlers some time for resting their limbs.
Taskin struck two early blows in the second Innings removing both Vijay and Rahul by the sixth over . India in the quest of quick runs lost Kohli and Rahane as well. In the mid session between lunch and tea India raced to 159/4 taking an impregnable lead of 457 . Surviving four sessions on a wearing wicket for Bangladesh was a huge ask.
In such a situation senior professional Tamim is expected to deliver .But he failed again . Soumya played some magnificent strokes . But he is yet to learn grinding and grafting losing his patience. But the costly blow was losing the wicket of Mominul getting out to an unplayable delivery of Ashwin. Mahmudullah and Shakib saw the day off . Bangladesh was 103/3 at stumps of day four.
Shakib was expected to curb his natural instinct. Who has played more cricket in India and world over than Shakib . He should have known more than anyone how to bat on such circumstances . But you will again listen I play like this, His early loss on day five put paid on Bangladesh cause. Mushfique again got a start but could not kick on. So did Shabbir and Miraj. By that time wicket started turning viciously and some cracks developed at both ends on length for Ashwin and Jadeja to exploit. Mahmudullah tried as much as possible . The person who impressed was Rabbi. He batted for 84 balls for his unbeaten 3 runs. Mahmudullah got out scoring 64 of the bowling of Ishant Sharma . Bangladesh forced India taking the new ball and played almost till tea on the fifth day . The best of Bangladesh still left them 208 runs in arrears .
There can be many post mortem of the match . But in given circumstances and situation Bangladesh did what best they could do. Perhaps Shakib , Tamim and senior players must know by now that they have to shoulder greater responsibilities . The youngsters are emerging. And putting in their best . The score card would be self reflecting.
Tamim 2 ( 11 balls ) , Soumya 42(66balls )., Mominul 27(63 balls ) , Mahmudullah 64( 149 balls) , Shakib 22( 50 balls ) , Mushfique 23 ( 44 Balls ) , Shabbir 22( 61 balls ) Miraj 23 ( 61 ) ,Kamrul Rabbi 3* ( 84 balls ) . Kamrul played a similar innings in the first innings of the second test in New Zealand . When the team bats with back to the wall senior players have to show character .
It was great that Mushfique and Mahmudullah tried their best . Miraj is maturing . More was expected of Tamim and Shakib . Many would say Shakib plays like this .We can quote few innings of flamboyant AB de Villiers and majestic Hashim Amla when they played extremely slowly for the cause of the team. The one time best all rounder of all format Shakib is expected to deliver more regularly for the winning cause of the team
Bangladesh did not field well and looked ragged in the field at times .. Mushfique himself must consider giving up wicket keeping as better keepers like Litton and Sohan are available. Both are good batsman as well. With Miraj starting to bat well Bangladesh can afford to let Litton keeping in tests and Sohan in limited overs . That will give more scope for Mushfique concentrating on his batting. He is by far the best batsman in the team now.
We noted some uncalled for media reports quoting BCB senior executive about stripping Mushfique off his captaincy. If it was rightly quoted we can only pity such idea . Mushfique puts his 100% all the time for the team like Masharafee .When he wants to leave leadership or whether he leaves must be left on him alone . He richly deserves that. Man may come man may go but persons like Mushfique and Masharafee will be remembered for ever in Bangladesh Cricket history..
We may have reasons to feel hurt for dreams not coming true . But who could believe that Bangladesh would almost salvage honorable draw . But we must say Bangladesh going down fighting is a good omen for Bangladesh Cricket. BBCI should invite Bangladesh for a full series soon.
Writer: Saleque Sufi