Bangladesh suffered a heart-breaking 22-run loss in the first Test at Chittagong on Monday, as it turned out to be a case of so near yet so far for the hosts, not for the first time in their Test history. Although only one side won in the end, there were some fantastic performances from either side and, with a bit of luck, the result of the Test might well have been a different one. Anyways, here’s a look at some extremely memorable efforts in the game from players of either side.
Ben Stokes: Even as the game ebbed and flowed, this match had the Stokes stamp all over. With the Test on a knife’s edge on the final day, Stokes trapped both Taijul Islam and Shafiul Islam lbw to set off celebrations in the England camp, and dejection in the opposition. Stokes was all over Bangladesh before that as well. He had claimed four wickets for just 26 in Bangladesh’s first innings to keep them down to 248. He then top-scored with 85 in England’s second innings to ensure the visitors maintained the upper hand. His final act was the most devastating though.
Sabbir Rahman: A few runs here and there, Rahman would have had the most memorable debut. Instead, his heroics went in vain as he could only watch Bangladesh falter from the non-striker’s end. Rahman remained unbeaten on a composed 64, a special innings for someone just making his debut. His absorbed all the pressure, and brought the hosts extremely close to victory. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Those who witnessed the knock will have fond memories of the same, irrespective of the result.
Mehedi Hasan Miraz: Another debutant who made an instant impression. Miraz finished with excellent figures of 6 for 80 in the first innings, which was instrumental in keeping England down to under 300. His wickets included the big one of Joe Root, as well as Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow.
Jonny Bairstow: Not long ago, there were serious question marks raised over Bairstow’s ability to succeed on the sub-continent. His failure early in his career did not help matters. But, Bairstow has clearly worked on his game. At Chittagong, he was at his resourceful best lower down the order. Bairstow made a hard-fought 52 in the first innings, and an equally crucial 47 in the second to help England recover from a batting collapse that could have cost them the game.
Gareth Batty: The 39-year-old deserves a special mention for his comeback, against all odds. While he ended up claiming only four wickets, those were big ones. In the first innings, Batty sent back the well set Tamim Iqbal for 78, in a way turning the tide of the match. Then, in the second innings, he finished with excellent figures of 3 for 65. His victims included Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim. In a sense, he broke the back of the Bangladesh chase with two those big scalps.
--By A Cricket Analyst