Alexa Shakib prized Afghanistan

Dhaka, Monday   21 October 2019


Shakib prized Afghanistan

 Sports Desk

 Published: 07:36 PM, 9 September 2019   Updated: 07:42 PM, 9 September 2019

File Photo

File Photo

Skipper Shakib Al Hasan prized Afghanistan Cricket team for their historic test win over Bangladesh at Chattogram today. 

I think it's a combination of the application of our batsmen and Afghanistan bowling. We need to do a lot of hard work to become a good, consistent team. After playing for 20 years, we cannot say it's a build-up process. We are playing a Test after quite some time but credit goes to Afghanistan. We need to forget this match as soon as possible and focus on the T20 series. Afghanistan are a very good team in that format. With the [T20] World Cup coming up next year, we need to focus on T20s, said Shakib.

Afghanistan beat both their opponents and the weather as they took the final four Bangladesh wickets in 17.2 overs on a rain-affected final day at Chattogram to seal their second victory in the format.

With Bangladesh resuming the day on 136/6 needing over 250 runs to win, Afghanistan were firm favorites to register a second Test win in just their third Test match. Only 13 balls were possible before the rain fell and threatened to curtail the prospects of an Afghanistan victory. Both lunch and tea were called early as the chances of a draw increased. 

Eventually, past 4pm local time, the umpires confirmed that a maximum of 18.3 overs would be bowled, weather permitting. With the light fading, even if the rain stayed away there was a very real prospect of the day and Test prematurely being called to an end due to bad light.

Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan was likely to be a major obstacle in Afghanistan’s quest to victory. The all-rounder was set to resume play on 44* and had looked in sublime touch prior to the rain delays. Zahir Khan, a 20-year old spinner making his Test debut, got Afghanistan off to the perfect start after play resumed, taking the wicket of Shakib with the first ball bowled in the final session. Shakib, looking to cut, could only edge the ball through to Afsar Zazai behind the stumps. If Afghanistan’s spirits were in any way dampened by the weather, Zahir’s breakthrough certainly lifted them.

Mehidy Hasan and Soumya Sarkar both resisted in a resilient eighth wicket partnership that frustrated Afghanistan. The Khans, Rashid and Zahir, bowled well, beating the bat and extracting leading edges on numerous edges, only to see the ball sneak past the bat or fall agonisingly short of a fielder. Rashid was the man to make the crucial breakthrough, taking his fourth wicket of the innings (and ninth of the game) trapping Mehidy lbw for 12.

The Afghanistan skipper repeated the trick in his next over, this time dismissing Taijul Islam for nought. Afghanistan were now just one wicket away from victory. With the light continuing to fade, time running out and a man with three international centuries at the crease in Sarkar, the result was still by no means a given. Sarkar and no. 11 Nayeem Hasan held firm and with 24 balls left of the Test, Bangladesh were within touching distance of an unlikey draw.

It wasn’t to be though as Rashid Khan induced an inside edge from Sarkar that was snaffled by Ibrahim Zadran at short-leg to give Afghanistan their most impressive win yet in Test cricket. No team in the history of the game has recorded their second Test victory in quicker time than Afghanistan.

It was the perfect way for the team to bid goodbye to one of their most influential figures in Test cricket, Mohammad Nabi. Rashid Khan dedicated his Player of the Match award to Nabi who retires from Test cricket after this game. The day also capped the end of a remarkable captaincy debut for Rashid Khan. Not only did Afghanistan notch their first away victory in the format against more experienced opposition, but his all-round performance that saw him take 11 wickets and score 75 runs across the Test was vital.