India complete series sweep

Cricket: Fiery Zaheer scalps seven as hosts batting collapses on day four

India complete series sweep

Indian cricketers pose with the Test series trophy at the end of the second Test match between Bangladesh and India at The Sher-e Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on Wednesday. AFP The ten-wicket victory in the second Test against Bangladesh on Wednesday at the Sher-e-Bangla National stadium, helping India to a 2-0 win in the Test series, came after a strenuous two weeks when they battled injuries to key players, rumours and an opposition that offered tougher fight than expected.

Resuming from overnight 228 for three and required to score a further 83 to avoid an innings defeat, Bangladesh promised a lot before collapsing like a sand-castle on beach, ending up at 312, leaving India with the simplest task of scoring just two runs for a win.

Before Zaheer Khan made the Bangladesh batsmen swing to his tunes, there were hints of a long day ahead for the visitors. The fourth morning started with a surprisingly defensive-minded Mohammad Ashraful and night watchman Shahadat Hossain frustrating Indian bowlers during their defiant 68-run alliance for the fourth-wicket.

Shahadat was impressive in particular; the Bangladeshi played with the kind of composure only regular batsmen show in the middle without compromising on the need to score runs. Expectedly, there were a few bouncers from Indian pacemen, but the youngster either moved away from danger or played them with confidence as he seemed to fully exploit the reprieve on 33, Amit Mishra had dropped a sitter off Harbhajan Singh at deep mid-wicket.

A mighty six off Pragyan Ojha revealed his self-assurance as Bangladesh narrowed the gap at an alarming rate; more than 50 runs flowed from the first 13 overs of the day.

Last laugh
However, the Harbhajan-Mishra combination had the last laugh. Shahadat’s inexperience came to the fore when the all-rounder lashed a fuller delivery from the off-spinner straight into the hands of Mishra, who produced a neat effort this time.
But the drama that ensued was beyond everybody’s imagination; from the peaks of 290 for three to the depths of 312 all out, losing seven wickets for a mere 22 runs.
However, the home batsmen could hardly be blamed for the disaster. They were not prepared enough for a masterly exhibition of reverse swing from Zaheer.

The left-arm pace bowler swung the ball at nearly 140 kmph, eliciting confused look from batsmen and constant clatter of red cherry meeting the timber. In between, left-arm spinner Ojha snaffled Ashraful with a gem that pitched on leg-stump and turned across the batsman, taking a thick outside edge of the bat en route to Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s gloves. Skipper Shakib al Hasan played a baffling uppish sweep off Ojha straight into the hands of Gambhir, but with a few more tenacious players still to come, Bangladesh might have hoped for a move on.

Perhaps, the hosts were not aware of Zaheer’s command over reverse swing or they were lulled into a false sense of security after a few gritty battles the lower-order waged earlier in the series. But soon, they realised their folly as Zaheer plucked wickets in a heap.

An incoming delivery beat Raqibul Hasan’s perfect shouldering of arms to clip the off-stump, Shafiul Islam had little clue to a delivery that shaped in late and M Vijay came up with a sensational catch at second slip to get rid of Mahmudullah Riyad as Zaheer grabbed three wickets in an over.

Mushfiqur Rahim was a stunned spectator to the carnage at the other end and had it not been for his two boundaries off Harbhajan, Bangladesh would have slipped to an innings defeat.

Zaheer required just two balls after lunch to finish off Bangladesh’s sordid effort with the bat, castling Rubel Hossain.

SCORE BOARD

BANGLADESH (I Innings): 233 all out
INDIA (I Innings): 544/8 declared

BANGLADESH (II Innings, O/n: 228/3):
Iqbal c Dhoni b Zaheer    151
(231m, 154b, 18x4, 3x6)
Kayes c (sub) Kaarthick b Zaheer    5
(21m, 15b, 1x4)
Siddique c Dhoni b Zaheer    55
(201m, 143b, 5x4)
Shahadat c Mishra b Harbhajan    40
(98m, 74b, 4x4, 1x6)
Ashraful c Dhoni b Ojha    25
(85m, 65b, 2x4)
Raqibul b Zaheer    5
(31m, 23b)
Shakib c Gambhir b Ojha    7
(10m, 6b, 1x6)
Rahim (not out)    10
(32m, 26b, 2x4)
Mahmudulla c Vijay b Zaheer    0
(3m, 2b)
Islam b Zaheer    0
(2m, 1b)
Rubel b Zaheer    0
(5m, 3b)

Extras (B-7, LB-5, W-2)    14
Total (all out, 90.2 overs)    312

Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Kayes), 2-219 (Siddique), 3-222 (Iqbal), 4-290 (Shahadat Hossain), 5-291 (Ashraful), 6-301 (Shakib Al Hasan), 7-301 (Raqibul), 8-301 (Mahmudulla), 9-301 (Islam).

Bowling: Zaheer Khan 20.2-2-87-7 (w-1), Ishant Sharma 15-2-50-0, Harbhajan Singh 26-7-75-1, Ojha 22-4-77-2, Virender Sehwag 7-2-11-0 (w-1).

INDIA (II Innings):
Sehwag (not out)    0
(2m, 2b)
Gambhir (not out)    0
(2m, 0b)

Extras (B-2)    2
Total (for no loss, 0.2 overs)    2
Bowling: Shakib 0.2-0-0-0.

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