Second Test Match

Bangladesh v India, 2007

Utpal Shuvro

At Mirpur, May 25, 26, 27, 2007. India won by an innings and 239 runs.
Toss: Bangladesh. Test debut: I. Sharma.

Mirpur's Shere Bangla Stadium became Test cricket's 95th venue, and the second in Dhaka, after the Bangabandhu Stadium was handed over to football. Bangladesh's first Test there was also their last under coach Dav Whatmore; the team promised him a farewell gift, but he was left empty-handed again as they lost in three days. An innings and 239 runs was India's biggest Test victory. They came back hard after Chittagong to impose themselves on the hapless Bangladeshis, helped by Habibul Bashar unexpectedly inserting them on a belter. The move, heavily criticised in the local media, was explained as "a team decision". It resulted in the first innings in Test history in which the top four all scored centuries. Wasim Jaffer became the 15th player to make a hundred after bagging a pair in his previous Test; fellow-opener Karthik reached a maiden Test century; Dravid notched up his 24th, the innings of the match, and Tendulkar his 37th (mundane by his standards, with only eight fours and a six). Bizarrely, all four took part in an opening stand of 408, five runs adrift of the firstwicket record by Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy against New Zealand in 1955-56.

Jaffer and Karthik put on 175 before Karthik went off just before tea, suffering cramp due to extreme heat. After adding a further 106 with Dravid, Jaffer also succumbed, and had to be carried off the field. Tendulkar took over to add 127 with Dravid, before Mohammad Rafique finally made a breakthrough on the second morning - whereupon Karthik returned to complete his century. The heat took its toll on the Bangladeshis, too, with Mashrafe bin Mortaza and Syed Rasel both having to leave the field in midover, and wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud passing the gloves to Shakib Al Hasan.

India finally declared on the second afternoon after piling up a mountainous 610 for three, and Bangladesh's predicament was even stickier when they lost four wickets for seven by their third over. Javed Omar poked at the very first ball, from Zaheer Khan, and edged to third slip, R. P. Singh had Habibul caught behind in the next over, and Zaheer got rid of the leaden-footed Shahriar Nafees and Mohammad Ashraful with consecutive deliveries. It might have been 11 for five or six - both Shakib Al Hasan and Rajin Saleh were dropped just after that. Instead, they put up brief resistance, adding 33, before Rajin fell to Kumble's guile, and Shakib was trapped by Zaheer off the second ball of the third day. Bangladesh were following on before lunch, an overwhelming 492 behind.

Again, they lost Omar to the first ball, though television suggested it had not touched his bat on its way to Dhoni's gloves. Omar entered the record books as the 12th man in Test history to get a "king pair" (Adam Gilchrist being the only one with a Test average over 25), and the first one dismissed by the first ball of both innings. The woeful form of Nafees and Habibul continued and, this time, Bangladesh were ten for three by the fourth over.

Then came an astonishing counter-attack from Ashraful, driving anything pitched up and pulling anything short in an exhibition of uninhibited strokeplay. Ashraful raced to the fastest Test fifty recorded by minutes - 27, beating 28 minutes by Jack Brown for England at Melbourne in 1894-95 - and the joint second-fastest recorded by balls - 26, only two slower than Jacques Kallis against Zimbabwe in 2004-05. He had 67 from 41 balls and 46 minutes when he flicked Kumble to Tendulkar at short midwicket; an 81-run stand with Rajin had encompassed just nine overs. As at Chittagong, Bangladesh's highest score of the match came from Mortaza, but his 70 off 68 balls, studded with eight fours and three sixes, only delayed the bitter end.

Man of the Match: Zaheer Khan. Man of the Series: S. R. Tendulkar.

© John Wisden & Co.
 
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