SPECIALS – Bangladesh’s near-misses

  Bangladesh suffered yet another series sweep after a tame 10-wicket defeat to the West Indies in the second Test at Khulna. Though there was success for individuals like Sohag Gazi (who took 9 wickets on debut) and Abul Hasan (who scored a stunning hundred from No.10 on debut), Bangaldesh failed again as collective unit. Bangladesh’s struggles as a Test nation have continued for 12 years now, and their record is a dismal 65 losses in 75 Tests.

  However there were a few instances where Bangladesh actually had a big chance of winning a Test, only to lose in the end. Here we look at five Tests where Bangladesh contrived to lose in spite of having a great chance of victory:-

1. Lost to Pakistan by 1 wicket, Multan 2003

  This is probably Bangladesh’s most heart-breaking Test loss. The three match series was already won 2-0 by Pakistan coming into this final Test. A determined 72 by Habibul Bashar led Bangladesh to a fighting 281 before Mohammed Rafique (5/36) and Khaled Mahmud (4/37) combined to skittle the hosts out for just 175. With a healthy lead of 106, Bangladesh needed to capitalise, but instead they folded for 154, with quickies Umar Gul and Shabbir Ahmed picking 4 wickets each.

  In pursuit of a tricky 262, Pakistan were in for an upset loss when they ended Day 3 at 148/6. But one man, Inzamam ul Haq, on his home ground stood between Bangladesh and a historic win. Inzamam put on 41 for the 8th wicket with Shabbir and a further 52 with Gul for the 9th. The score was 257/9 when last man Yasir Ali, on debut, came in to join Inzamam. The big man kept his cool, steering his side to a thrilling, last gasp 1-wicket win, finishing unbeaten on 138.

2. Lost to Australia by 3 wickets, Fatullah 2005-06

shahriar_nafees     Shahriar Nafees made a stunning 138 against the mighty Aussies in 2005-06 (source – bbc.co.uk)

  This was the ultimate David vs Goliath battle. Bangladesh came up with a rousing start in this match and almost looked certain to slay the then world champions, before the Australians realised that could not lose to the underdogs. Bangladesh smashed 355/5 on the first day before being bowled out for 427, Shahriar Nafees making a brilliant 138. The legendary Shane Warne was stunningly attacked and went for almost 6 an over – it was fellow spinner Stuart MacGill who took 8/108. The Tigers then had Australia at 93/6 – a usual team would have definitely won from this position against another usual team – but this was bottom-of-the-table Bangladesh taking on the best team in the world.

  Adam Gilchrist however cracked 144 to help Australia get to 269. With a big lead in place, a nauseatingly familiar script was followed by the hosts – they collapsed for only 148. Yet they managed to have Australia at 231/6 in their chase of 307 – but just like Inzamam in Multan, it was skipper Ricky Ponting here who made 118 not out to help his side to victory. Bangladesh had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and that too against the champions.

3. Lost to South Africa by 5 wickets, Dhaka 2007-08newpic790         Shahadat Hossain’s 6/27 gave a scare to South Africa at Dhaka in 2007-08

  Again Bangladesh took a first innings lead – albeit a narrow one this time – and again they managed to lose. South Africa replied to Bangladesh’s 192 (Morne Morkel 5/50) with a total of only 170, with paceman Shahadat Hossain bagging an excellent 6/27. The Bangladesh batsmen were however not up to mark, and they could only garner 182 in the second dig – Jacques Kallis picking 5/30. South Africa comfortably reached 205/5 to win the game by 5 wickets, and Bangladesh were left to rue once again.

4. Lost to New Zealand by 3 wickets, Chittagong 2008-09

  The same pattern followed in this Test too, as Bangladesh failed to defend 316 in the second innings. The hosts got a 74 run lead in the first innings after Shakib al Hasan took a sensational 7/36 – the best Test analysis by a Bangladeshi – to bundle out the Black Caps for 171 in reply to their 245 (Mehrab Hossain jnr 83, Mushfiqur Rahim 79). The hosts then managed 242 in the second innings, setting New Zealand a tricky 317. Aaron Redmond (79) and Daniel Vettori (76) ensured there was no collapse this time, and steered New Zealand to a 3-wicket win.

AlHasanShakib_081021_bowling_AI300          Shakib al Hasan’s record 7/36 against New Zealand in 2008-09 went in vain

5. Lost to India by 113 runs, Chittagong 2009-10

  Virender Sehwag had remarked before the game that Bangladesh were an ordinary side. The Tigers got back at him by bowling India out for 243 (Sachin Tendulkar 105*) , with Shahadat and Shakib taking 5 scalps each. They then replied with 242 – just one run behind and the game in balance. However the game drifted away from the hosts, as India declared at 413/8, setting a target of 414. Mushfiqur made an entertaining 101, but it was not enough as Bangladesh were dismissed for 301, losing by 113 runs.

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