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The Report by Abhishek Purohit
November 24, 2012
Bangladesh 387 and 226 for 6 (Shakib 97, Nasir 64*, Best 3-26) trail West Indies 648 for 9 dec (Samuels 260, Chanderpaul 150*, Bravo 127, Shakib 4-151) by 35 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Shakib Al Hasan had been Bangladesh's superman again. He'd bowled 52 overs in the West Indies first innings and become the second Bangladesh bowler to take 100 Test wickets. He had watched the first five Bangladesh batsmen disintegrate and proceeded to cut the 261-run deficit with thrilling, defiant strokes. But in the end, Shakib fell to the same lack of patience that plagues the Bangladesh Test line-up. He did not have the patience to sleep tonight three short of a Test hundred. First ball of the last over of the day, he charged Veerasammy Permaul, and holed out to mid-off. Shakib, along with Nasir Hossain, all but ensured West Indies would bat again, but his survival had promised so much more.
Shakib and Nasir got together after a three-wicket burst from Tino Best, nursing an injured hamstring, had reduced Bangladesh to 82 for 5. This was just before tea, and with a session left, it seemed Bangladesh would struggle to take the game to day five. As it turned out, Shakib and Nasir dominated after tea, with 141 runs coming in 35 overs.
It is a fine line between aggression and suicide, especially when you are looking to first avoid an innings defeat, but Shakib and Nasir got it just right. Shakib was in imperious touch through his favoured backward point region. Deliveries with next to no width were steered and cut for boundaries, at times against the angle. Sunil Narine, who has made no impact this series with figures of 3 for 343, was hit for three successive boundaries.
Nasir, only 20, again played a mature knock that belied his age and his batting position - his series returns have been 96, 21, 52 and 64 not out. He was the defensive foil to Shakib but did not let any width escape both sides of the wicket as he drove, swept and flicked confidently.
Bangladesh's early collapse, though, had left too big a hole to fill. The first five Bangladesh wickets lasted a collective 88 deliveries, which wasn't exactly surprising for a side that had spent nearly seven successive sessions on the field, and had lost 64 of its previous 74 Tests. What was surprising was the source of their woes. Best, who hadn't batted and had been doubtful to bowl, needed 16 deliveries to take out three batsmen, including Tamim Iqbal.
West Indies had closed their innings on 648 for 9, the highest total made against Bangladesh, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul remaining unbeaten on 150, having also made an unbeaten 203 in the Mirpur Test. Bangladesh had the task of batting at least four sessions to avoid losing the series 2-0 on a slightly deteriorating pitch. The surface, though, had nothing to contribute to the fall of the home batsmen. For once, it was not even their usual tendency to self-destruct. They were just not good enough against the pace of Best and Fidel Edwards.
Nazimuddin played his first delivery, the third of the innings, from within the pads and Edwards swung it in just enough to trap him in front of middle and leg. Tamim and Shahriar Nafees, once again, batted as if hitting aggressive boundaries was the only way to bat in Test cricket.
As it had in Mirpur, the exhibition delighted the Khulna crowd for a few overs before the inadequacies took over. Shahriar had no clue how to deal with the short ball. He tried to back away and upper-cut one aimed at his head, and was caught at gully, but Edwards had overstepped.
Best, who came on in the ninth over, was to make no such mistake. He was in no position to go flat out as he had in Mirpur. But his first delivery had enough bite to jag in from short of a good length and bowl Tamim. Naeem Islam shouldered arms to his third delivery, which swung in late and hit off stump. Shahriar's misery ended four overs later when he hopped and fended a bouncer to the slip cordon. At that stage, Best's figures were 2.4-0-6-3.
All that was needed now was a batsman throwing it away. Mushfiqur Rahim did just that as he charged at a Permaul delivery, missed and was bowled.
Shakib was left, yet again, to push the match to day five, after having taking four wickets in the morning. The Khulna pitch, after three days of slumber, had started producing deliveries that reared and spun sharply, though Narine and Permaul did not get as much out of it later.
Since Chris Gayle fell before lunch on day three, Bangladesh had toiled more than 180 overs for two wickets. Shakib produced two in an over, twice, close to lunch today. Chanderpaul, though, chugged untroubled to 150 and even his rate of scoring was constant over the three sessions he batted.
Though Shakib and Nasir fought for a while, one constant through Bangladesh's innings was the nervy, fidgety feeling that it could come apart any moment.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Abhishek Purohit
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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