December 10, 2002

Record haul for Lawson torpedoes Bangladesh

Rajesh Kumar

A remarkable spell of fast bowling from Jermaine Lawson sent Bangladesh hurtling to one of the worst defeats in Test history at Dhaka. The 20-year-old fast bowler claimed six wickets for three runs in 6.5 overs - the second-most economical five-wicket haul in Tests - as his side sealed an innings and 310-run win over the hosts.

In the morning, the West Indies, who had resumed at 400 for five, managed to extend their first-innings lead to 397 before being dismissed for 536.

Ridley Jacobs, who ended with an unbeaten 91, was the tourists' batting star. After the only remaining specialist batsman, Daren Ganga, fell early - run out for 40 - Jacobs made a determined bid to notch up his third Test ton. But after having played 137 balls, from which he struck 11 fours to get to within nine runs of the landmark, the West Indies skipper was denied the honour when last man Lawson was dismissed for one.

Lawson would extract his revenge soon.

When Bangladesh replied, openers Hannan Sarkar and Anwar Hossain made an explosive start. Sarkar in particular did not have the slightest hesitation in playing his shots. The 19-year-old raced to 25 off 28 balls with five fours before he played a poor shot to Vasbert Drakes, presenting Daren Ganga with an easy catch at gully.

When Mohammad Ashraful was dismissed for a duck four balls later, the Bangladesh second innings was in a familiar state of disarray. Drakes added a third scalp, Hossain (12), to leave the hosts reeling at 44-3 at tea.

Habibul Bashar (22) and Aminul Islam (12) restored a measure of sanity with a 36-run fourth wicket stand in the final session. But Bashar's dismissal by Pedro Collins was to trigger a sensational Bangladesh collapse. The man who precipitated it was Lawson, in his fourth over.

After Islam had negotiated the first two balls, Lawson struck with his third, a straight delivery that caught the veteran Bangladesh batsman plumb in front and ended his 39-ball resistance.

Drinks were being taken as the next man, Khaled Mashud, walked in. But that only shielded the Bangladesh skipper for a few minutes from the ignominious fate that awaited him; trapped lbw for a golden duck by Lawson with the very next ball when play resumed.

Naimur Rahman succeeded in avoiding the hat-trick by stealing a leg-bye. Alok Kapali, though, was not to enjoy any such reprieve; umpire David Shepherd lifting the dreaded finger for the third time in the over after he was rapped on the pads by a straighter delivery. Lawson had claimed three wickets in four balls to send the hosts hurtling from the relative comfort of 80 for three to the quagmire of 80 for six.

A brief lull followed as ten deliveries went by without major mishap. But then Lawson struck again, removing Enamul Haque (0, 7 balls). An over later, the 20-year-old returned to clean up the Bangladesh tail, castling Tapash Baisya and Talha Jubair for ducks.

Bangladesh had collapsed to their lowest-ever Test score - 87. Lawson had claimed the second-best five-wicket haul in Test history; only Ernie Toshack's 5-2 for Australia against India at Brisbane in 1947/48 was better. And West Indies had registered the sixth-biggest Test win ever. No wonder debutant skipper Ridley Jacobs was a very happy man.