Magical Mehedi manoeuvres win
In their short journey in Test cricket Bangladesh have seen many ups and downs, suffered several heartbreaks to keep the expectation low even when they are best placed to win a game.
The story was about to be repeated on Sunday when they nearly gave away despite setting England a difficult target that any team would expect to defend in the fourth innings.
A young off-spinner, who was playing only his second Test, turned the table upside down to stage an extraordinary comeback as Bangladesh finally managed to bury the ghosts of Multan, Fatullah and Chittagong to script a historic 108-run win against England in Mirpur.
True that Bangladesh have won seven other Test matches in last 16 years, but they all came against underrated sides, leaving them still to search their first victory against full-strength major opponents.
They were close against Pakistan in 2003, against Australia in 2006, against New Zealand in 2008 and against England in the previous Test of the current series only to finish as the second best team on each occasion.
The Tigers needed someone special to help them overcome the mental barrier and they found it in 19-year old Mehedi Hasan, who almost single-handedly bowled England out in a session for 164 runs.
Chasing a target of 273 runs, England reached 100-0 at the tea on the third day in their first positive start of the series that raised the prospect of another simple victory for them against Bangladesh.
Mehedi struck off the first ball after the tea break to end the partnership and took three more wickets in quick succession to complete his 10-wicket haul in the match being only the third bowler in country’s history after Enamul Haque Jr and Sakib al Hasan.
In Multan Inzamam-ul Haque caused their heartbreak, Ricky Ponting did it against them in Fatullah and Dainel Vettori scripted the unlikely win for New Zealand in Chittagong eight years ago.
They were all captain of their respective side and similar story was about to be unfolded in Mirpur when England captain Alastair Cook got a reprieve on 46 despite being given out off Mehedi initially.
Mehedi ensured there was no sense of déjà vu, scalping Cook on 59 for his fourth wicket that completed his haul and finally gave Bangladesh a sniff of win in a Test match, which changed its direction in almost every session.
With Sakib already joining the party, England needed Jonny Baristow to replicate his form that made him the only batsman in 2016 to score more than 1000 runs in Tests.
Mehedi got rid of him too to leave England precariously at 139-6 and Sakib (4-49) soon claimed three wickets in one over to expedite England collapse.
Fittingly, Mehedi claimed the final wicket of Steven Finn to finish with 6-77 that made his match figure 12-159, the best by a Bangladeshi bowler overtaking Enamul’s 12-200 against Zimbabwe.
England were left ruing not only for their poor batting but also their poor catching that earlier denied them a chance to restrict Bangladesh within a reasonable total in the second innings.
Several catches went down and they also missed a crucial stumping chance before Adil Rashid’s 4-52 finally helped them dismiss Bangladesh for 296 runs in the second innings.
Bangladesh were carefree with the bat to say the least and might have paid some price but could evade it thanks to Mehedi’s youthful exuberance that has now become a part of history.
News Courtesy: www.newagebd.net