Steely nerves help Bangladesh arrest chaos in remarkable win

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Bangladesh registered their maiden Test win against Sri Lanka in 18 attempts © AFP

Bangladesh’s first Test victory on the Sri Lankan soil brings with it a renewed gusto and belief that the subcontinental side is no longer a pushover in the longest format of the game.A journey that began a good 16 years ago, to reach its summit, took a long time but it finally arrived.

The crest started to form with a win against England at home in 2016 and then the win in their 100th Test at the P. Sara on Sunday (March 19) has erased doubts for whoever thought that the former was a flash in the pan. The narrow four-wicket win came amid immense pressure, but their steely determination helped them overcome the powers of Rangana Herath and Co. on a fifth day wicket as Bangladesh chased down 191 in just over two sessions of play.

Coming into the final session of the game where they needed 35 runs to complete the much sought after win, Bangladesh had able personnel in the form of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim at the crease. With victory well in sight, Shakib pulled the wrong shot out of his drawer as he cut too close to his body to drag it back onto the stumps. Skipper Mushfiqur held his own amid the storm around him, while an effervescent Mosaddek Hossain threw the kitchen’s sink to take Bangladesh closer. After hitting a couple of boundaries, Mosaddek perished while Mushfiqur took Bangladesh home with four wickets still in the kitty.

Earlier in the day, Suranga Lakmal and Dilruwan Perera extended their 30-run overnight stand by another 50 runs to take Sri Lanka’s lead close to the 200-run mark. Dilruwan got his second consecutive fifty but perished soon after, and with Lakmal falling in the next over, Sri Lanka’s hard fought resistance came to an end.

In pursuit of glory, Bangladesh were welcomed by Rangana Herath and Dilruwan, who opened the attack. The birthday man – Herath – responded with two wickets off two deliveries to leave Bangladesh in tatters. But post Lunch, Tamim Iqbal and Sabbir Rahman put their heads down on the task to tick one mini target after the other, as they took small steps towards a memorable win.

Their 109-run stand for the third wicket ensured all but a win, and with both the batsmen departing in quick succession, Bangladesh lost their way, reminiscent of a child in a crowded fair.

Tamim’s untimely heave on 82 pulled the lid off his coach’s temper, and Sabbir falling prey while playing a sweep aggravated Bangladesh’s agony. Just as Bangladesh tried hard to make a big deal out of what should ideally have been a modest chase, the occasion got to them with a slew of few more wickets, keeping the hosts in the thick of action.

Mushfiqur was given out leg before, moments before the finish line, but a review overturned the decision. The skipper didn’t jump the gun, both with his shot selection and celebrations this time around, and saw his side through in what was a nervy win.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 338 and 319 (Dimuth Karunaratne 126, Dilruwan Perera 50; Shakib Al Hasan 4-74, Mustafizur Rahman 3-78) lose to Bangladesh 467 and 191/6 (Tamim Iqbal 82, Sabbir Rahman 41; Dilruwan Perera 3-59, Rangana Herath 3-75) by four wickets.

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