Sport Live: There was nothing to match a Jason Gillespie double-century, but the first day of Test cricket between Bangladesh and Australia in 11 years provided a gripping contest all the same.
Three Bangladesh wickets tumbled in the first four overs of the day; three Australian wickets crashed in the final four overs of the day. In between, Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal celebrated their respective 50th Tests with a century stand that led Bangladesh’s recovery.
By stumps, Australia were 18 for 3 in reply to Bangladesh’s 260, and much work remained for Steven Smith, who was on 3, and Matt Renshaw who had 6. Australia’s innings was only nine overs old, but already their struggles against quality spin had come back to haunt them. David Warner was given out lbw twice in successive balls off Mehidy Hasan; the first time he was saved by an inside edge on review, the second time he walked.
Usman Khawaja, restored to the side despite a disappointing record in Asia, appeared nervous and found himself run out for 1 when he took off for a single of high risk after pushing Shakib into the off side. Renshaw sent him back, and Khawaja was short. Shakib then accounted for the nightwatchman Nathan Lyon, who was trapped lbw for a five-ball duck, ensuring no repeat of Gillespie’s heroics from 2006.
It was a frantic end to an eventful day in which the only batsmen to really shine were Shakib and Tamim, who compiled a 155-run stand. Curiously, given the length of their service, this was just the fifth time that Shakib and Tamim had batted together in a Test innings. Both men would have been disappointed to fall to Australian spinners with centuries seemingly there for the offering, Tamim for 71 and Shakib for 84.
The morning had started disastrously for Bangladesh, who had chosen to bat. Pat Cummins, who was 12 years old last time these teams played a Test, demolished much of the Bangladesh top order within his first two overs with the new ball. He found pace and bounce in a pitch the Australians likely expected to offer little but spin, having Soumya Sarkar caught at gully, then Imrul Kayes and Sabbir Rahman caught behind off consecutive balls.
Cummins missed out on a hat-trick, but he had reduced Bangladesh to 10 for 3 in four overs. But if Australia thought Bangladesh would be pushovers, they reckoned without Shakib and Tamim, who put together the second-highest fourth-wicket partnership in Bangladesh’s Test history to lead the recovery.
Shakib scored more consistently, having little trouble handling the pace of Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, and showing a willingness to attack the spinners. He brought up his half-century off his 65th ball by steering Ashton Agar behind point for two. Tamim was patient but threatened to get bogged down in a string of dot balls, though when he did attack he did so effectively and struck three sixes, all off Lyon. His fifty took 119 deliveries.
The Australian spinners, most notably Lyon, had found turn and bounce, but it was Glenn Maxwell who broke the big partnership with his only wicket of the innings when Tamim rocked back and shaped to cut, but succeeded only in lifting a catch to backward point. Eight overs later, Shakib was gone as well, caught at slip when he played back and followed an offbreak from Lyon.
That wicket took Lyon’s tally to 248 in Test cricket and brought him level with Richie Benaud, who himself had taken eight wickets in Australia’s first Test match in Dhaka, against Pakistan in 1959. By the end of the innings, Lyon had moved on to 250 wickets and was outright second on the all-time list of spinners on Australia’s Test wicket tally, behind Shane Warne.
From there, Bangladesh’s batting offered only glimmers of resistance. Ashton Agar, playing his first Test since that memorable debut series in England in 2013, had Mushfiqur Rahim lbw with a flattish delivery for 18, and later added Nasir Hossain in similar fashion for 23. Lyon was lucky to snare Mehidy, who was given out caught at short-leg despite missing the ball – but by then, Bangladesh were out of reviews.
Lyon had Taijul Islam lbw and Agar finished the innings by having Shafiul Islam caught skying one to mid-on. Australia might have been pleased to knock Bangladesh down from 165 for 3 to 260 all out. They were about to find out that 260 still was perhaps not so bad after all.
Bangladesh 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Imrul Kayes, 4 Sabbir Rahman, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 6 Shakib Al Hasan, 7 Nasir Hossain, 8 Mehidy Hasan, 9 Taijul Islam, 10 Shafiul Islam, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Australia 1 David Warner, 2 Matt Renshaw, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 Peter Handscomb, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Ashton Agar, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Nathan Lyon.
Dhaka, 27 , August , (campuslive24.com) /MH