A sensational bowling performance from Shakib Al Hasan helped Bangladesh beat a nervy first hour on the fourth morning in Dhaka to complete a historic first-ever Test win over Australia on Wednesday (August 30). David Warner’s combative century went eventually in vain as the Bangladesh spin troika, led by Shakib, did enough to deny Australia a late escape. Pat Cummins tried his best to kill Bangladesh’s shot at history, but Taijul Islam put a lid on that by bundling out the visitors 20 runs short of the set target.
Shakib followed up his first-innings bowling figures of 5 for 68 with another five-fer (5 for 85) as he constantly lifted the side in times of need and put them on course for what became a victory that they will remember for decades to follow. In the process, he also became only the second cricketer (after Richard Hadlee) to score a 50 and take a 10-wicket haul twice in Tests.
Warner started the day in familiar fashion, coping with balls that reared up to head level, smiling while looking down at the pitch after balls whizzed past his outside edge with sharp turn, and most importantly, surviving and eating into the target set by Bangladesh. The hosts started with spin from both ends but couldn’t breakthrough straightaway. Warner even took on left-arm spinner Taijul with three fours in the same over, signalling Australia’s intent to shatter Bangladesh’s hopes of a victory.
En route to a sensational fourth-innings knock, Warner brought up his 19th Test century. The fact that it was only his second century in Asia showed how he expertly steered clear of his own frailties against the turn to try and flip the topsy-turvy game on its head. He nearly succeeded, until Shakib bowled one that spun sharply and kept low to sneak in below Warner’s attempt to pull it away and hit him on the pad. Warner had to walk back for 112, and took along a review, as the ball was clearly crashing onto the stumps.
One wicket soon brought another, specially with Bangladesh turning up the noise in the middle and particularly around the bat against spinners. Steve Smith, who had played a subdued role in the third-wicket partnership with Warner, had to take centrestage now but he too misjudged the bounce. Against a flatter ball angled into him, Smith tried to play the cut shot but ended up faintly edging to Mushfiqur Rahim.
The sudden pique in energy and reflexes showed Bangladesh truly believed they were in with a chance of pulling off the unthinkable. Soumya Sarkar helped Bangladesh further their bold endeavour by taking an acrobatic rebound catch at first slip to send Peter Handscomb on his way shortly after Smith’s exit.
Having conceded 61 runs in the first hour of play, Bangladesh took their phenomenal comeback a notch higher when they picked up their fourth wicket in the space of 10 overs. Matthew Wade was was stuck inside his crease against a viciously-turning Shakib delivery that beat his bat to strike the pad. The wicketkeeper-batsman repeated Warner’s act of using up a review against a plumb LBW call, thereby leaving the visitors with four wickets and zero reviews in hand. Taijul didn’t let the pressure relent from the other end, forcing Ashton Agar to commit an error and hit one straight back to the bowler shortly before the Lunch break.
If Glenn Maxwell’s agenda was to cement his Test spot, there couldn’t have been a better situation for him to drag the team out of trouble from and send a message to coach Darren Lehmann. The flamboyant batsman found detractors on the field too as the close-in fielders and the ‘keeper tried to get under his skin with a few words and taunts. Maxwell survived the early barrage of words and spin, but his early efforts were undone first ball after the break.
With 66 to get, Maxwell will look back at his attempt to cut the first ball of the post-Lunch session with a grimace on his face, but it was yet another case of a Shakib delivery keeping low and rattling the stumps from below the swinging bat.
Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins dimmed Bangladesh’s overt enthusiasm at this point by coming out and playing their shots. The pair added 29 runs over the next 9.1 overs and looked primed to snatch a late victory away from the hosts. Mushfiqur made a timely bowling change after Shakib and Mehidy Hasan couldn’t breakthrough, and that worked wonders.
Taijul came on and trapped Lyon in front of the stumps to take Bangladesh a wicket away from victory. There was more drama in store as the injured Josh Hazlewood walked out to bat and Cummins was in no mood to down his tools. The tall-framed tailender swung his bat around and narrowed down the target. Taijul however, didn’t let that late cameo ruin Bangladesh’s commendable effort across all four days as he trapped Hazlewood LBW to complete the win.
Brief Scores: Australia 217 (Matt Renshaw 45, Ashton Agar 41*; Shakib Al Hasan 5-68, Mehidy Hasan 3-62) & 244 (David Warner 112, Steve Smith 37; Shakib Al Hasan 5-85) lost to Bangladesh 260 (Shakib Al Hasan 84, Tamim Iqbal 71; Nathan Lyon 3-79, Pat Cummins 3-63, Ashton Agar 3-46) & 221 (Tamim Iqbal 78, Mushfiqur Rahim 41; Nathan Lyon 6-82) by 20 runs.