Bangladesh is proving to be a team that is slowly making a statement in the world of cricket, as are its players. Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal are foremost among the senior players who are guiding Bangladesh by example to achieve new heights in the game, including helping their side to register their first ever win against Sri Lanka, in Colombo, and level the two-match Test series 1-1.
The Bangladesh team has been in the spotlight for many reasons. The Bangla tigers have started to get rid of the tag of “underdogs” by upsetting many big fish.
It is not the first time that the world witnessed such an upset by the Bangladeshis. The Tigers first left a mark on world cricket by defeating Australia in an ODI back in 2005 and later showed India the exit in the 2007 World Cup. Since then, they never looked back and kept on marching on their merry way.
The recent victim of the Bangladesh team was the army of Rangana Herath. The stage was set for the visitors as they took the field with the mindset of yet another upset and the goal of reaching a milestone in their 100th Test match. After losing the 1st Test, the tigers retaliated strongly against the Lankans and registered an emphatic win. It was a dream come true for the Bangladesh team: to register a win on foreign soil.
With this victory, Bangladesh became the fourth team in the history of cricket to win their 100th Test, after Australia, Pakistan and West Indies. This is also the first time that Bangladesh have beaten Sri Lanka in Test cricket.
Shakib Al Hasan, who is probably Bangladesh’s greatest player in the last two decades, played a crucial part in the 2nd Test. He scored a vital century in the 1st innings which eventually provided the root of this sweet victory. Shakib, striking his 5th Test century, made 116 runs in just 159 deliveries with 10 fours to his name.
He was awarded with man of the series and went on to say, “This was a very important win. It wasn’t easy at all, the boys had to work hard for it. We had to come back strongly after the first Test. As Chandimal batted in the first innings it told me that if I play my shots, I would get some runs.”
Tamim Iqbal was already one of Bangladesh's most assured batsmen at the time of his 21st birthday, and he will be a vital component at the top of the order for years to come. Tamim, who is turning 28 on Monday, gave himself and his team a gift which is worth remembering.
Chasing a target of 191 runs on the final day of the match, Bangladesh lost two early wickets but Tamim played a fabulous innings of 82 on a tricky pitch to put Bangladesh on course to victory. In the end, skipper Mushfiqur Rahim was unbeaten on 22 to see his team through.
Tamim was awarded the man of the match for this spectacular performance while chasing in the 4th innings, in addition to his 49 in the 1st innings. He said, “I think this win started when we lost the last match at Galle. We had a long chat with the coach, and the players stepped up. When you are chasing this kind of total, you have to be a little aggressive.” Tamim also gave credit to their coach, saying, “…the coach backed us a lot. We are very lucky to have him.”
Later in the press conference, Bangladesh captain, Mushfiqur Rahim said, “It feels great to win on the foreign soil. The bowlers did a great job; specially Mustafiz and Shakib were exceptional with the ball on a flat track. The boys stepped up under pressure and there were lot of partnerships in the bowling. I really enjoyed it. If you see some of the last series we have played some good cricket.”
We can’t wait to see who will be Bangladesh’s next victim!
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