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by Saksham Mishra & Cricket World Wednesday 18 March 2020
Bangladesh played their first-ever Test match at the turn of the millennium which they lost by 9 wickets. In 2001, after losing five matches, they played their first drawn match against Zimbabwe. In 2004, five years after playing their first red-ball game, the Tigers registered their first ever Test victory, beating Zimbabwe by 226 runs.
In 2016, when England toured the country for a full tour of 2 Tests and 3 ODIs, Bangladesh had only won seven matches in Test history - five against Zimbabwe and two against West Indies. Before the 2nd Test at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh had faced England eight times in Test cricket and were beaten each time - not even a drawn game.
That said, if they ever had to buck the trend, they had their best chance on the spinning Dhaka wicket and against an out of sorts England team. The hosts had been in a winning situation in the 1st Test of the series at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram as well but squandered the advantage to lose by 22 runs.
Luck also seemed to favour them as they won the toss and decided to bat first on a pitch that would only keep getting worse with every passing delivery. On the back of an attacking ton from opener Tamim Iqbal and a well-made 66 from Mominul Haque, Bangladesh posted 220 on the board in the first innings. The total was cut short by an amazing batting collapse, but even 200+ runs here were more like 500 on a good batting strip.
And, England would have realised that well when they were tottering at 144-8 in their first essay at one point, under the danger of conceding what could have been a match-defining lead. But a 99-run partnership between Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid, both of whom scored 40s, helped them take a crucial 24-run lead.
Bangladesh openers Tamim Iqbal (40) and Imrul Kayes (78) did their job and a couple of 40s from Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan in the middle order took them to 296 - enough to test the English batting in the fourth innings on a wicket that was turning square, especially against a 19-year-old off spinner who had already wreaked havoc in the second innings.
However, the game was tuned on its head in the last session as England lost Duckett to the first ball after Tea and from there on, Rahim's boys did not look behind. Mehidy Hasan, who had picked up a six-for in England's first essay ripped through the batting order of the visitors, claiming another six-wicket haul, to finish with a match haul of 12/159 - the best ever effort by a Bangladeshi bowler in Tests.
Both Cook and Duckett had scored half-centuries but England's next best was Ben Stokes, the team's saviour in the last Test, with 25. Bangladesh won the match by 108 runs and registered their maiden Test win over England in their ninth attempt.
The discussions surrounding the spinning track will always be there but skipper Cook took the defeat on the chin, "It's been very tough but I have no complaints about it (turning pitch). We get green wickets and why should not these guys get the wickets they grow up playing on."
Bangladesh went to register a Test series win against Australia shortly, and now have their eyes set on going one better over the two nations as both are scheduled to tour Bangladesh shortly.
©Cricket World 2020