Zaheer scripts clean sweep for India
by Jinu Sabastian
DateLine: 27th January 2010
Zaheer Khan was an unstoppable force in the morning session just before lunch as he ripped apart the Bangladeshi middle and lower order to hand India a 2-0 series win over Bangladesh. The left-arm seamer was way too hot for the home batsmen as he repeatedly breached their porous defence to script a win which was in the end an easy one.
The two overnight batsmen Shahadat Hossain and Mohammad Ashraful displayed admirable patience and grit as they batted resolutely in the first hour of the day's play. The pair continued to frustrate the Indian team on the field and it began to show on the field. Overthrows and drop catches began to appear in the passage of the day's play and with the pacers unable to find the breakthroughs Dhoni opted for the spinners.
Shahadat Hossain slowly began to open up as he lifted Ojha over the long on fence and then when substitute fielder Mishra dropped Shahadat Hossain at long on the Bangladeshi fans must have had a feeling that something unique was on the cards. The pair added 68 runs in 21.1 overs before the tide changed. Shahadat Hossain (40, 74 balls, 4x4, 1x6) finally fell when he was caught at long on off Harbhajan Singh and then Ojha produced a left arm spinner's dream-ball to remove Ashraful (25, 65 balls, 2x4) as the scorecard read 291 for 5. Shakib (7, 6 balls, 1x6) came to the crease with a clear intention that he was going to counter-attack the Indian spinners as he lofted Ojha straight over his head for a massive six. But his sojourn at the crease ended when he swept one straight to Gambhir at square leg.
That opened the floodgates and Dhoni brought back his premier strike bowler. Coming round the wicket and wide of the crease Zaheer got one to swing into Raqibul Hasan (5, 23 balls) who bizarrely left the ball and found his timber disturbed. Mahmudullah (0, 2 balls) survived just one ball before he edged an outswinger from Zaheer to second slip where Murali Vijay took a superb one-handed catch. Shafiul Islam (0, 1 ball) had no answer to another inswinger from Zaheer as Bangladesh crashed to 304 for 9.
The Indians thought that they had an innings win when the ball deflected of Rahim's thigh pad to Dinesh Karthik at short fine leg but the umpire disagreed with the appeal. Rahim crashed two boundaries as Bangladesh led by one run and to ensure that India would have to bat again. Post lunch Zaheer took just two balls to complete the formalities as he detonated Rubel Hossain's off stump to pick up his first ten wicket haul in his Test career.
India needed just two runs to win and that came via byes as the visitors take home the Test series.