Zaheer bowls India to thumping win
India 610 for 3 dec (Jaffer 138 retd hurt, Karthik 129, Dravid 129, Tendulkar 122*) beat Bangladesh 118 (Zaheer 5-34) and 253 (Mortaza 70, Ashraful 67) by an innings and 239 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
How they were out
India's batting juggernaut set the table and a charged-up Zaheer Khan dug in as India wrapped up an innings-and-239-run victory inside three days in Dhaka to clinch the series against a lacklustre Bangladesh. Zaheer's 5 for 34 bowled the hosts out for 188 and when the follow-on was enforced under dark skies, there were only feisty half-centuries from Mohammad Ashraful and Mashrafe Mortaza to delay the inevitable. India's fielding left much to be desired, but in all, this was grossly one-sided cricket in humid conditions on a lifeless track.
Weighed down by a mountainous 552-run deficit at the start of play, Bangladesh collapsed meekly. As on the second day, Zaheer needed little time to get stuck in. Second ball, he trapped Shakib Al Hasan leg before with one brought in from outside off stump. Zaheer's fourth five-wicket haul, and first since Brisbane 2003, came when he cleaned up Mohammad Rafique - who raised 1000 runs in Tests during his 12 - with a full delivery.
Anil Kumble's three wickets polished Bangladesh off on a track with no demons in it before Zaheer resumed service. Having handed Javed Omar another first-ball duck, Zaheer came back first over after lunch to bounce out a woefully out of form Habibul Bashar. That dismissal also brought out the brilliant Ashraful, who drove and pulled with disdain during an 81-run fourth-wicket partnership with Rajin Saleh (42 from 46) that encompassed just 55 balls.
When India toured in late 2004, Ashraful played the Test innings of his life in a lost cause at Chittagong. Here, he threatened to repeat that in far more brutal fashion with 67 from just 41 balls. Debutant Ishant Sharma pitched it up, Ashraful drove, head straight and feet in place for 14 runs. RP Singh dropped short, and Ashraful pulled, all wrist and late on the roll, for six. And when Zaheer strayed even fractionally, Ashraful sent the ball to the off-side boundaries at will.
With Ashraful on 57 from just 30 balls, Rahul Dravid turned to Kumble. A gentle shoulder-warmer was floated up and Ashraful drove to the cover boundary, but he then flicked one to midwicket to end a brief but belligerent innings. Ramesh Powar dismissed Saleh, Shakib Al Hasan and Khaled Mashud in quick succession but there was resistance from Mohammad Sharif and Mortaza (70 from 68), who added 54 for the eighth wicket.
Butterfingers set in as Dravid dropped one and Dinesh Karthik two off the spinners, but Kumble showed them how to do it with a smart caught-and-bowled after Sharif misread a googly. Rafique fell leg before to Tendulkar and when Mortaza slogged Tendulkar up in the air shortly after blitzing a second Test fifty, it was all over.
The Bangladesh side that turned up at the brand new Sher-e-Bangla stadium looked remarkably like the faltering team of old. They were unable to bowl a side out, shoddy with their fielding, and shaky with the bat. India, conversely, dominated every session.
The plan was to bat just once, and a torrent of runs took them to a mammoth 610 for 3 declared before Zaheer found proof of life in a comatose surface. Having made his Test debut in 2000 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium downtown, Zaheer looked an accomplished bowler in this series.
What India will take from this game is the noise that he, Karthik and Wasim Jaffer made with a long summer in England looming on the horizon. The opposition will be a lot tougher, but at least India can depart with that winning feeling.
Jamie Alter is an editorial assistant on Cricinfo