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Debutant Taskin Ahmed injected Bangladesh's attack with some much-needed pace, and worked well in partnership with Mashrafe Mortaza to sink India's line-up
June 17, 2014
Bangladesh's elaborate pace plan was realised when Taskin Ahmed exerted himself on the India batsmen. His five-wicket haul on ODI debut was a bonus. The real highlight for Bangladesh was his extra yard of pace, something they have yearned for a long time. That made the major difference.
The absence of a speed gun would mean the key numbers behind Bangladesh's best bowling performance on ODI debut cannot be accurately recalled in the future, but there is little doubt about Taskin's impact on the batsmen. Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, Cheteshwar Pujara, Stuart Binny and Amit Mishra were all undone by unexpected zip, which was amplified by a pitch that was livelier than the usual Mirpur tracks.
The day before the game, new coach Chandika Hathurusingha and bowling coach Heath Streak spent a lot of time looking at the pitch. A bit later on, pacers Rubel Hossain, Shahadat Hossain and Sajedul Islam bowled in the nets although none of them are part of the 15-man squad. The new coaches must have realised that this track would aid extra pace and hence, Taskin was summoned and given his cherished ODI debut.
He started off in the sixth over but within two deliveries, they had to go off for a long rain break. Two and a half hours later, he restarted with a wide. Uthappa drove him immediately when he pitched up, so Taskin went back to the shorter length and was rewarded in his second over. That is Taskin's usual length, given his height and high-arm action. His action is modeled slightly on one of his heroes, Morne Morkel, as he extends himself vertically to bring down a swift arm.
Today, he also showed how well he can move the ball by pushing the ball further up, catching Ambati Rayudu at the start of his third over. What helped Taskin was Mashrafe Mortaza's continued control. The senior bowler has lost almost all his pace of youth, but he invariably remains accurate with the new ball. Here Mortaza, aided by the helpful surface and heavy overhead conditions, used his guile to repeatedly test the India batsmen outside the off stump.
Mortaza, too, would have appreciated the help from the other end, as Taskin kept the pressure on. Throughout the year, Bangladesh hasn't had two bowlers from both ends putting pressure on the batsmen. Regularly, one bowler would do well but the pressure would be off from the other end as boundary balls would be readily available. It happened in the first ODI as well, when Mortaza bowled well but Al-Amin Hossain and Ziaur Rahman provided little assistance.
Taskin repeated the fuller length in his fifth over, this time to Pujara. He bowled 13 deliveries to him, most of them shorter deliveries. The fuller length cut back into Pujara, struck him on the back leg, and got him out leg-before.
Mortaza continued from the other end, troubling with legcutters and movement to either side of the batsmen. He took two wickets, both leg-befores when he brought the ball back into the batsmen - Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha - and beat them with his inswing.
And for the first time since his debut last year, Al-Amin bowled a spell in international cricket with the purpose of taking wickets and not just avoiding getting hit. His second spell was all about attacking the stumps and making the batsmen play the ball. He was rewarded with one wicket, going between Akshar Patel's bat and pad.
It was a complete bowling performance from Bangladesh. But it didn't really matter in the end. Their batsmen could not even score 106 runs.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84Feeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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