The best all-rounder of all format of the current international cricket, Tiger’s senior performer Shakib Al Hasan continued his march on the corridor of excellence in his 50th Test.
After being the top scorer (84) in the first innings, his yet another five (5/68) wickets haul has put Bangladesh on the driver’s seat at stumps of day two of the eventful first Test of Australia-Bangladesh series.
With nine second innings wickets in tact Bangladesh now lead Australia by 88 runs. With 6 of the 15 sessions were already won and 21 of the 40 wickets already been gone into the history this Test may not go beyond day four.
The deteriorating wicket may take Bangladesh to impregnable position if Australia can set a 300 plus target in front of Bangladesh to win the match.
Responding to Bangladesh first innings of 260 Australia was bundled out for 217 conceding a first innings lead of 43. Bangladesh could extend the lead to 88 by stumps of day two losing the wicket of Soumya Sarkar.
Shakib taking 5/68 joined Muttiah Muralitharan, Rangana Herath and Dale Steyn as the only bowler with Test five-fors against all nine Test opponents: next stops, Ireland and Afghanistan.
Shakib, for the eighth time in his Test career combined a half-century with a five-wicket haul. Only Ian Botham did so on more occasions (11), though from more than twice as many Tests. Shakib has time and age in his favor to equal or better Botham.
Mushfiqur and rest of the Bangladesh team set a target of getting Steve Smith early when play resumed on the second morning. Majestic Mehedi deceived Smith with a sharp turning delivery disturbing his furniture before he could spread his wings.
Australia was tottering at 4/33 by the 12 over with the cream of the Austarlian batting already sucked out. Two youngsters Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb were surviving by the skin of the teeth. There were uhh and aah all the way during their 5th wicket partnership of 69.
Mustafizur Rahman brought late into the attack made an impact bowling through tight length and teasing line. He dried runs from his end conceding only 13 in his 8 over probing spell. Fizz impact led Taijul removing Handscomb and Shakib accounting for Renshaw in quick succession.
Soon Mathhew Wade was also removed by Miraz. Maxwell was also outwitted by Shakib. Deceived by his flighted delivery he was smartly stumped my Mushfiqur at 8/124 diminishing the possibility of a 100 plus lead started looming.
Unfortunately some dollies were dropped by butter finger Bangladesh fielders. Ausssie tails wagged. 49 price less runs were added by Agar and Cummins in the 9th wicket before Shakib wrapped up the innings with two more wickets. Bangladesh got 43 runs lead.
Bangladesh looked to roll on in the second innings till nervous Soumya again unnecessarily threw away his wicket at the far end of day two. Soumya, rashly holed out to a juggling Usman Khawaja at long-on off Ashton Agar, had fallen for 15.
Much better and more skilled options are in Bangladesh’s possession now. Insisting with him my unwise team think tank is not even doing justice to young Soumya. He has neither the Test temperament nor the skills to bat against quality bowling in Test.
Coming back to Australian innings Australians looked panicked all the way. Their technique against quality spin was pretty ordinary. Renshaw and Handscomb tried their best. But their best were not enough. Ashton Agar batting at number 9 scored unbeaten 41 to put some respectability to Australian innings.
Bangladesh batting sensibly on the second day have to set a target of 300 plus for Australia. Bangladesh would two to three partnerships. Senior pros Tamim, Shakib and Mushfiqur have to shoulder the responsibility. One or two youngsters have to put up their hands. There is no hurry. Hope team management won’t repeat the mistake of first innings risking Sabbir at top order again.
Scoring 300 on this wicket on day four would be extremely challenging if not impossible. There is decent turn also variable bounce – some kept low and others kicked sharply off the surface.
This too will play on Australia’s minds when they enter their second innings.
But in any case batting is not impossible on the surface. One or two batsmen needs grinding and grafting. The match is not yet won. It is highly unlikely that Warner, Smith and co will bat the way they did in the first innings.
Not only Australian batsmen, umpire Aleem Dar had a very ordinary day. Two of his poor decisions were overturned on DRS. On such a tricky wicket it can happen and may still happen on day three and four.