Bangladesh v India, 2nd Test, Mirpur, 4th day

Zaheer burst sets up 2-0 victory

The Report by Dileep Premachandran

January 27, 2010

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India 544 for 8 dec (Tendulkar 143, Dravid 111 retd hurt, Dhoni 89) and 2 for 0 beat Bangladesh 233 (Mahmudullah 96*, Ishant 4-66, Zaheer 3-62) and 312 (Tamim 151, Junaid 55, Zaheer 7 for 87) by ten wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

MS Dhoni jumps for joy after getting rid of Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh v India, 2nd Test, Mirpur, 4th day, January 27, 2010
Mohammad Ashraful resisted the Indian attack initially, but his dismissal opened the flood-gates © Associated Press
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From a position of relative strength to utter disarray in the space of half an hour - that was Bangladesh's story on the final day of the series in Mirpur. From 290 for 3, they lost six wickets for 14, and only a couple of hefty blows from Mushfiqur Rahim ensured that the innings defeat was avoided. But Zaheer Khan, who had spent much of the morning wearing a back-brace before returning to scalp three in an over, needed just three balls after lunch to make a mess of Rubel Hossain's stumps, and when Shakib Al Hasan's second ball went for byes, the match was over.

Pragyan Ojha had taken the wickets of Mohammad Ashraful and Shakib Al Hasan, before ceding the limelight to Zaheer, easily the pick of the bowlers in the series. But there was no hint of the drama to come as Bangladesh made serene progress in the opening hour. Ashraful drove Zaheer through cover, but was largely an amused onlooker as Shahadat Hossain, the nightwatchman, took to the attack with some gusto.

Smart stats

  • India's 2-0 win in Bangladesh is their fifth series win in a row. They last lost a series in Sri Lanka in July 2008. Since then they've beaten Australia, England and Sri Lanka at home, and New Zealand and Bangladesh away.
  • The win is India's sixth in seven Tests against Bangladesh. Three of those wins were by an innings.
  • Zaheer Khan's 7 for 87 is only the ninth instance of Indian fast bowlers taking seven or more wickets in an innings. Kapil Dev has done it five times, while Lala Amar Singh, Javagal Srinath and Irfan Pathan have done it once each.
  • It's Zaheer's first ten-wicket haul in a Test - his previous best had been 9 for 134 against England at Trent Bridge in 2007.It's also his fourth Man-of-the-Match award, two of which have come against Bangladesh.
  • Tamim Iqbal's 151 is the second-highest score by a Bangladesh batsman in Tests. He fell only seven short of Mohammad Ashraful's unbeaten 158 against India in 2004. Bangladesh's three highest individual scores have all come against India.

A pull for four off Ishant Sharma bolstered his confidence and though a subsequent top-edged heave over slips betrayed his tail-end roots, there was nothing fortuitous about a lovely straight six off Ojha or a copy-book cover-drive off Zaheer. With Gautam Gambhir then conceding four overthrows, and Ojha clubbed for another four through midwicket, there would have been Indian supporters whose minds strayed to the prospect of a tricky fourth-innings chase.

The sense of unease was compounded when Amit Mishra dropped Shahadat at deep midwicket after he'd given Harbhajan Singh the big heave-ho. There were 51 runs scored before drinks and it was only when Shahadat tried to wallop Harbhajan over long-on again that the wheels came off. This time, Amit Mishra held on to the catch, and the 68-run partnership was over.

Ashraful, who had shown uncharacteristic patience all the while, followed in Shahadat's wake, undone by a beautiful Ojha delivery from round the wicket. Shakib played the most bizarre of innings, striking the first ball he faced for a straight six, and then sweeping one straight to Gambhir at square leg. Resistance breached, MS Dhoni turned to his best bowler.

Brace or no brace, Zaheer was a man on fire. Raqibul Hasan shouldered arms to one that came in with the angle from round the wicket, while Mahmudullah was defeated by late movement and a magnificent catch from Murali Vijay, who took the catch an inch from the ground while diving to his left at second slip. Shafiul Islam's stumps were splayed next ball, and it took some defiance from Mushfiqur to make India bat again. In the event, they didn't even need to play a shot in anger.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at Cricinfo

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Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
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