Bangladesh are all set to play their 100th Test match when they take on Sri Lanka in the second Test at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo. Their Test record does not make for pretty reading – eight wins and 76 defeats in 99 matches so far – but that is not to say that they have not had moments of brilliance. Here is a look at some of Bangladesh’s best (and worst) team and individual performances in the Test arena.
First Test win
Bangladesh’s first ever Test triumph came on their 35th attempt, after 31 defeats and three draws. A home series against an under-strength Zimbabwe, plagued by controversies with their Board, presented the perfect opportunity to create history. The Tigers took full advantage, notching a 226-run win in the first Test at Chittagong.
After captain Habibul Bashar (94) and Rajin Saleh (89) propelled Bangladesh to 488, veteran left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique took 5/65 to ensure a lead of 176 for his side. Bashar (55) then scored his second fifty as Bangladesh declared at 204/9, setting Zimbabwe 381 to win. 18-year-old left-arm spinner Enamul Haque grabbed 6/45 to dismiss the visitors for 154. The second Test at Dhaka was drawn, giving Bangladesh their first series win.
First overseas win
Bangladesh’s next significant Test success came against another weakened outfit, this time the West Indies, who fielded a second-string team for their home series in 2009 due to disputes with the senior players over wage issues. Bangladesh surrendered a first-innings lead of 69 in the first Test at Kingston, but a fine 128 from Tamim Iqbal helped set a stiff target of 277, which proved to be 95 runs too many for the hosts. Mahmudullah starred with the ball, taking 5/51.
The second Test at St. George’s ended in another win for the Tigers, giving them a 2-0 sweep of the series. The match was akin to a second-innings shootout, as the Windies led by only five runs on the first innings. Captain Shakib Al Hasan stepped up to the challenge, first taking 5/70 and then scoring an unbeaten 96 in the chase of 215 to shepherd Bangladesh to a four-wicket win.
The 600-run barrier was breached for the first time in the drawn first Test against Sri Lanka on a flat Galle surface in 2012-13. After the hosts declared at 570/4, the Tigers hit back with a mammoth 638. Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim became the first Bangladeshi to score a double ton, scoring 200, while Mohammad Ashraful was not too far behind with 190. Bangladesh’s previous best was 556, made in a losing cause against the West Indies at Mirpur earlier in the season.
Sri Lanka, on the back of a massive win by an innings and 234 runs in the first Test, demolished Bangladesh for 62 in the first innings of the second Test at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo in 2007. Only Rajin Saleh (21) could muster double figures as Lasith Malinga (4/25) and Muttiah Muralitharan (4/14) wrought havoc. Despite an unbeaten 129 by Ashraful in the second innings, Bangladesh went down by an innings and 90 runs.
Highest individual score
The first Test of Bangladesh’s 2016-17 series in New Zealand at Wellington saw Shakib Al Hasan smash 217 from just 278 balls, surpassing Tamim Iqbal’s 206 against Pakistan at Khulna in 2015. Shakib was involved in a stand of 359 with his captain Mushfiqur Rahim – another Bangladeshi record – as Bangladesh ran up 595/8. However, a second-innings meltdown, not for the first time, cost them dear and they were beaten by seven wickets.
Best bowling figures in an innings
In what was their first home series consisting of three Tests, Bangladesh secured a 3-0 whitewash over Zimbabwe in 2014-15. However, they did not have it easy in the first Test at Mirpur, where they lost seven wickets before chasing down 101. That the target was kept this low was thanks to left-arm spinner Taijul Islam, who returned figures of 8/39 in the second dig. This was the first time that a Bangladeshi bowler picked up eight wickets in a Test innings.
Best bowling figures in a match
Of their eight Test wins thus far, Bangladesh’s series-levelling 108-run win over England at Mirpur in 2016-17 was certainly the most satisfying. The wrecker-in-chief was 19-year-old off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz, who collected a match haul of 12/159 in only his second Test. Mehedi first took 6/77 to restrict England’s lead to 24, and then with the hosts defending 272, added 6/82 as England lost ten for 64 in a session.
While Bangladesh’s biggest victory remains their maiden Test win by 226 runs, their largest defeat came at the hands of Sri Lanka at Chittagong in 2008-09. Chasing an improbable 624, the Tigers were bundled out for 158, going down by 465 runs, which is the fifth-highest margin in Test history. Their biggest innings loss was in 2002-03, when the West Indies pummeled them by an innings and 310 runs at Dhaka.
As it stands, Mohammad Ashraful is the most-capped Bangladeshi player, having played 61 Tests. Tamim Iqbal is the leading Test run-getter, with 3546 runs at 38.96. He also has the most hundreds (eight). The leading wicket-taker is Shakib Al Hasan, with 170 victims at 33.30, and he unsurprisingly has the most five-wicket hauls (15). The most successful wicketkeeper is Mushfiqur Rahim (95 dismissals), who has also served as captain in most matches (29). The most prolific fielder has been Mahmudullah, with 33 catches.
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