Test Cricket: How The Mighty Have Fallen

in #steemsports7 years ago


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At a time when one third of their country was under water and hundreds were dying, eleven brave Bangladeshi cricketers took on what was once the might of international test cricket. Australia had recently been embroiled in a player pay dispute for several months and one could argue their focus has been more on their bank account than their batting form but take nothing away from this famous Bangladeshi victory.
The first test of this two test series was played in Mirpur, Dhaka. Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bat first on a dry pitch already showing cracks. This may have been as good as it got for batting as it would be expected to dry further, slowing and turning as it did. The Australians would have been encouraged though by the humid conditions in which the ball would likely hoop around. To add to the interest, Australia captain Steve Smith suggested the test wicket had been practiced on the previous week, indicating it was even more worn than usual.

Bangladesh quickly ran into trouble, losing three wickets with the score on 10. Veteran Shakib joined Tamim at the crease and they steadied the ship. Even in the first session the ball was exploding from the wicket at times as a lot of footmarks were already evident. Australia spinner Nathan Lyon was into the attack after only six overs and immediately got turn and bounce. However, both Shakib and Tamim, playing their 50th test match saw their team safely through to lunch on day one to be 96-3. Post lunch they continued to occupy the crease and scored at a moderate rate. As the saying goes, “you can’t score back in the pavilion” so the run rate was secondary in importance to occupying the crease and playing time. Eventually Tamim succumbed to a shorter ball that bit and bounced from Maxwell. He scored a valuable 71. Just before tea, Lyon finally got his man, a real beauty that turned and bounced, taking the outside edge of Shakib’s bat and carrying to Smith at slip. Shakib scored 84, Bangladesh 188-5.
Bangladesh batted for another hour or so post tea to be eventually all out for 260, with valuable contributions from Rahim (18), Hossain (23), Miraz (18). Cummins, Agar and Lyon shared three wickets a piece. With ten or so overs left in the day, Australia started positively taking six runs from the first over. But just like Bangladesh, they were soon in trouble at 14-3, losing Warner, Khawaja and nightwatchman Lyon. At stumps on day one Australia were 18-3, with honours just to Bangladesh.
Day two started well for Bangladesh dismissing Smith for only eight. Australia then chipped in with a couple of steadying middle order partnerships. However they lost wickets too regularly despite some lower order resistance from Cummins and Agar, and were eventually all out for only 217 in the 75th over. Shakib took five wickets to become only the fourth player to take a five-wicket bag against all nine test playing nations.
Bangladesh started the second innings well, and made it through to 43 before losing their first wicket in the second to last over of the day. They ended the second day at 45-1. Another good day for Bangladesh, leading by 88 runs with 9 second innings wickets in hand, on a pitch that is turning, bouncing and seaming prodigiously.
On day three Lyon quickly picked up two early wickets for Bangladesh to be 67-3. Bangladesh would’ve been happy to set anything over 200 for Australia to chase the way the pitch was breaking up. It was tough going for Bangladesh with only Tamim (78) and Rahim (41) making a substantial contribution. By tea on day three they had moved through to 205-8, a lead of 248. Not long ago Australia has to chase 260 on another sub –continent pitch in Pallekele against Sri Lanka and fell way short.

Bangladesh are eventually all out late on day three for 221, leaving Australia to chase 265 for victory. Lyon picked up six wickets as you would hope from your front line spinner on a dustbowl. Australia then lost both Renshaw and Khawaja cheaply but rallied through Warner and captain Smith. Warner was in sublime form and by stumps Australia were 109-2. The momentum had swung their way after they took the last seven Bangladeshi wickets cheaply, and with Warner in commanding form they were in the box seat going into day four.
Early on day four the pitch was really deteriorating. One kicked off a length from spinner Islam forcing him to call for his helmet, while two balls later once almost broke his shins. Warner then hit the pickets three times in one over progressing Australia to 139-3, moving them over halfway to the target. Bangladesh had dominated for three and a half days, could Australia slip in the backdoor to grab victory from the jaws of death?

Warner moved onto a well-deserved hundred before becoming another victim of Shakib. He made 112, and just as his innings looked to take Australia to victory at 158-2, his dismissal then evened the game up. Just after the first session drinks, Shakib again struck by dismissing Smith caught behind. Australia were 171-4. In the first innings Australia lost their last six wickets for 115. That would get them over the line but the pitch was now two days older, playing like the proverbial minefield.
By lunch on day four Australia had lost regular wickets to be 199-7, still 66 runs short. Over lunch the crowd had swelled as the locals sensed their first victory over the mighty Australia. First ball post lunch that man again Shakib gets Maxwell out bowled. Lyon joined Cummins in the middle, with the latter looking like a drunk sailor in heavy seas as he struggled to lay bat on ball. Once Lyon (12) went, Cummins took the long handle to the bowling and got Australia to within 21 runs of victory. But when Islam removed Hazelwood, history had been created and the scenes in Mirpur went wild.
Bangladesh dominated most of the match and deserved to win though the Warner ton threatened to take that away from them. Shakib ended with two five wicket bags and became the first player in history to aggregate 80 runs and 10 wickets on two separate occasions in a Test. Rightly he was awarded the man of the match. This was a momentous day for Bangladesh, having only beaten Zimbabwe and a second-string West Indies team previously. For Australia, it’s a natural continuation of their struggles on turning pitches in Asia. If they lose the second test in Chittagong they will fall to sixth on the ICC test rankings. They still have much to play for. Following on the heels of the famous West Indian victory against England at Headingly overnight, Test cricket is well and truly alive.
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nice i love your post

cheers aziz, aim to do a few more cricket ones over coming mths.

Yeah! Even though t20 gives you all the thrills you want, the feeling of watching test cricket is something else!!

yes, test cricket will always be the purist form of the game but it seems t20 now pays the bills.

i love test in test criket

Thank you for your work, I invite you to evaluate my work.

very nice article

The Tigers have done it..

yep, every chance they'll make it 2-0 as well....

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