As Bangladesh are set to play their 100th Test, when they take on Sri Lanka in Colombo, The Ring Side View looks back at some of their best moments in the classical format:
Mehedi Hasan spins Bangladesh to first victory against England – 2016
Bangladesh had never beaten a big Test team before their encounter against England in 2016. Most of their victories have come against Zimbabwe and two were against a weakened West Indies side in 2009. Thus, beating England at Mirpur in 2016 should rank as their greatest moment so far as it could mark the arrival of a new era. Having lost the first Test in a close finish, Bangladesh came to Dhaka with a purpose. The first three innings were all about fight and grit as momentum swayed like a pendulum. They set England a target of 273 and were in danger of losing the game when the openers took England to 100 at tea on Day Three. The evening session turned out to be a dream for Bangladesh as Mehedi Hasan sparked a dramatic collapse, supported by Shakib Al Hasan. England lost their 10 wickets for 64 runs in an absolutely manic session. Mehedi finished with six wickets to mark an eventful debut series.
The first ever Test win – 2005
The early 2000s was a period that saw Bangladesh struggle with many questioning their quality for the classical format. There were occasional flashes of individual brilliance but nearly nothing that took the team to victory. But, late in 2004 came a stirring victory against India in a One-Day International (ODI). Zimbabwe arrived in early 2005, battling their own problems with numerous big names leaving the scene over the last year. Led by Habibul Bashar, Bangladesh dominated from the first innings. They took a big lead and then set the visitors a target of 381. Enamul Haque Junior then took six wickets to bowl Zimbabwe out for 154. The victory saw a big celebration at the MA Aziz Stadium, Chittagong with the Bangladesh players taking a victory lap to mark their first win in 35 attempts.
The Test debut – 2000
The Bangabandhu National Stadium was no stranger to Test having hosted Pakistan’s early games, but November 2000 was perhaps its biggest cricketing occasion. Bangladesh were awarded Test status and the big game was against neighbours India. Some felt it was a premature move but Bangladesh gave a good account of themselves for most of the game. Aminul Islam’s 145 took Bangladesh to 400. In reply, India stuttered until Sunil Joshi and Sourav Ganguly helped India take a slender 29-run lead. The Indian bowlers then tore the debutant’s line-up apart, shooting them out for 91. The target of 63 was overhauled with ease.
Tamim Iqbal gets a century at Lord’s – 2010
Bangladesh faced a tough task against a strong England side led by Andrew Strauss in 2010. Jonathan Trott’s double took England to 505. Although the top order fought, Bangladesh were bowled out for 282 and were made to follow on. Tamim Iqbal then put up an eye-catching display of batting. Despite the pressure, he played his natural game and smashed his way to a 94-ball century. There were drives, sweeps and a few slogs — all effective but may not have pleased a few at the Pavillion End. There were fighting contributions from Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique and Jahurul Islam but Bangladesh were bowled out for 382. However, England had to bat again and chase 160 to win. Despite the defeat, Tamim’s prowess was noted and he built on that with another century in the second Test.
Mohammad Ashraful arrives with a splendid century – 2001
Sri Lanka were bullying Bangladesh in their Asian Test Championship game at Colombo. The tourists were bowled out for 90 before Sri Lanka pummelled 555 for five. To add insult to injury, Marvan Atapattu (201) and Mahela Jayawardene (150) retired to allow the others a hit. Sri Lanka’s 555 came at a run-rate of 5.36. Bangladesh were demoralised going into their second innings and slumped to 81 for four when the 17-year-old Mohammad Ashraful walked in. The teenager then exhibited his talent and smashed 114 to put up a brave fight against Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas. Although in a lost cause, Ashraful’s knock created ripples and he was already touted as Bangladesh’s future star. And for his efforts, he was named Man of the Match alongside Muralitharan. With this, Ashraful became the youngest Test centurion overall, beating Mushtaq Mohammad, who was 17 days older than the Bangladeshi when he got his first century 1961. A few months before Ashraful’s century, Hamilton Masakadza had become the youngest centurion on Test debut, only to hold the record for some time.