A set of six balls from Rashid Khan can be over in a flash. He runs in like a medium-pacer with a short run-up, and swings his shoulder around fast with his wrist and fingers sending down the ball. He walks back quickly too. But, when he has your number, when you cannot tackle him, his overs don't seem to end. It can even happen in a T20, in which everything whizzes by so quickly. But in a Test match, when you are trying to rebuild an innings or block out everything for survival, a Rashid over can seem like forever.
Twice he broke Bangladesh's back in the one-off Test in Chattogram. On both occasions, the batsmen had been on the way to recovery, and if they had survived Rashid's spell, they could have been more secure and confident. Had they played him out in the second innings, it would have lifted a huge mental barrier.
But there were a few of those long overs from Rapid Rashid. On the second afternoon, with Bangladesh on 86 for 3, he struck Shakib Al Hasan's front pad in front of the stumps, and had Mushfiqur Rahim caught at short leg in the space of three deliveries. For a side already without Tamim Iqbal, removing one of these two batsmen makes a huge difference to the game. Rashid delivered two knockout punches in one go. Bangladesh would have wanted that forget that over before tea quickly, but it turned out to be the decisive over in the first innings.
For good measure, Rashid knocked over Mahmudullah too, with one that skidded through in his third over after tea. It was all rather quick, but for the Bangladesh dressing room, it must have seemed like an eternity.
Bangladesh were once again in a reasonable position when he came on for his first proper spell in the second innings. And he removed Mushfiqur for the second time in the game, and sixth time in nine innings across formats. It was a googly that had Mushfiqur's number this time, and in the next over, he spun back one sharply at the left-handed Mominul Haque. Wasn't there time to bring the bat down to a legspinner? Shakib, Mushfiqur (twice) and Mominul didn't seem to have enough of it. Rashid isn't always pacy, but he is deceptive. He changes the whirl of his shoulder and wrist so subtly, that batsmen end up reacting like they are playing a fast bowler.
Towards the end of the fourth day, he set up Mahmudullah by forcing him to go back and come forward several times, finally using a wrong'un to strike his inside edge, easily caught at short leg.
When Afghanistan really needed wickets, with very little time left in the game on the fifth evening, Rashid knew that he would have to make the difference. After a bit of resistance, Rashid burst through Mehidy Hasan and Taijul Islam and, with the overs running out, he again set up a batsman with his mix of fast and slow turners.
He went through his usual motions, but he bowled the 60th and 62nd overs ever so slowly. Soumya Sarkar, knowing that he couldn't attack with one wicket left, was set on defending every ball. Some squirted off his edge and fell short of the fielder, while others spun past his bat. The ones he defended struck the middle of his bat, but in that sort of situation, even a perfect defensive shot can't make a batsman feel too confident.
Soumya defended the first three balls of the 62nd over, but when Rashid spun one back into his pads with a hint of flight, he stepped out and tried to smother the spin. It took an edge and popped to short leg. The game was over.
Rashid sprinted off with his team-mates, celebrating a memorable win. He was gone before Soumya could look up. The Afghanistan captain finished with 11 for 104 for the match.
Rashid had also scored a fifty in the game, and the last man to take ten wickets and score a half-century in the same Test was Shakib, his opposite number here. "He has been a world-class bowler in T20s for a while now, although he is new to Test cricket," Shakib said. "He has shown his ability against us that he can apply his skills to Tests too. He was a factor for us, he took 11 wickets. He was handy with the bat in the first innings. His half-century took his side forward at that stage."
Indeed, it was the Rashid factor that really got to Bangladesh, quickly and slowly, in turn.