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Zaheer’s reverse swing cleans up Tigers

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Bangladesh had an incredible collapse on the fourth day’s play to lose 7 wickets for the addition of just 22 runs in just about 11 overs to pave way for an easy win for India. Zaheer Khan swung the morning session dramatically in India’s favour as the tourists failed to bag an innings victory by just the 1 run. The left armer captured four wickets today to go along with the three yesterday and got himself both the Man of the Match and Man of the Series awards.

Nobody would have thought that the hosts would collapse in such a fashion especially after seeing the first hour go to them comfortably. Overnight batsman Mohammad Ashraful along with Shahadat Hossain was looking firm in the middle and it seemed that the Indians were desperately searching for the mistakes. Shahadat Hossain (40 from 74 balls with 4 fours and a six), the nightwatchman obliged when he came down the wicket to hoist Harbhajan Singh at long on. Amit Mishra, the catcher had earlier put down a simple catch offered by the same batsman off the same bowler but this time made sure that the same mistake wasn’t repeated. 

Shahadat had put on 68 runs for the 4th wicket while batting out nearly 21 overs together with Ashraful before perishing in the 80th over. The deficit for Bangladesh came down to just 21. Dhoni was thinking to take the second new ball had Shahadat not been out at that stage. Pragyan Ojha struck 9 balls after Shahadat’s dismissal by curling one in the air and getting it to turn and bounce to catch the edge of a defensive shot from Ashraful (25 from 65 balls).

The next ball after that Ashraful’s exit saw the Bangladeshi Skipper Shakib Al Hasan dance down the track to lift Pragyan Ojha for a majestic six. It looked awesome but at the same the intentions were very clear that the Bangladeshi Captain was not interesting in hanging around! After all he is yet another young man still trying to make a name for himself at this level and not so matured enough batsman. In Ojha’s next over, MS Dhoni quite magically stationed Gambhir at short squareleg 15 yards away from Shakib and he was the man taking a sharp catch to a horrendous slog sweep from the left hander! Bangladesh found itself at 304 for 6.

In the 89th over, Zaheer Khan returned back and perhaps was trying to loosen up with the old ball before taking the new one. Ironically, he was rewarded with a free wicket with an innocuous inswinger angled in from round the sticks to Raqibul Hasan. The right handed batsman instead of calmly defending that on the frontfoot, blindly shouldered his arms to lose the off stump. Two balls later, Zaheer got first innings hero – Mahmudullah (0) jabbing at one that angled in but was leaving him with the reverse swing to produce the edge. Murali Vijay at second slip made the difference of being a young man as he plunged infront of first slip to pull off a low one handed catch! The very next ball, Zaheer went through the defences of Shafiul Islam with an inswinger through the bat pad gap, beating the no.10 with pace.

Zaheer failed to take a hat-trick though and the last rites were held up due to the lunch break. Immediately after the break, Zaheer took three balls to clean up Rubel Hossain (0) with one that angled in from round the sticks but held its line to knock the off stump down. Zaheer finished with a match haul of 10 for 149. Little Mushfiqur Rahim was stranded at the other end on 10 but his two boundaries made sure that India had to bat again. The Bangladeshi Wicket Keeper failed to collect a low turner from Shakib to help India win the match in the second ball of their innings.

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