Chattogram (Bangladesh): Afghanistan overcame the elements that separated them from a remarkable Test victory over Bangladesh and one of cricket’s great heartbreaks. After the umpires gave them 18.3 overs to bowl following a third rain break, Rashid Khan took three of the four wickets to fall, as they won the one-off Test by 224 runs.
With around an hour left to play, Zahir Khan had Shakib Al Hasan caught behind off the first ball in the final session after they made a second restart. Shakib tried a cut shot to a wide delivery, perhaps unnecessary at a time when survival was the only option.
Rashid picked up his fourth wicket by trapping Mehidy Hasan lbw, before completing his ten-wicket haul with the wicket of Taijul. He wanted to review the umpire’s decision, as there seemed to be a bit of bat involved, but was told by non-striker Soumya Sarkar that there were none left; Mehidy had used up the last one on his lbw decision.
Taijul’s wicket made Rashid the first cricketer to take a 10-wicket haul and score a fifty on his captaincy debut. Overall, he is the third captain to do the double, following Imran Khan and Alan Border.
Quite appropriately, Rashid took the final wicket to fall, Sarkar caught at short leg. In front of mostly empty stands, they celebrated by running around the ground, and then gave some of the Afghans who turned up, a victory lap.
Afghanistan must also not forget to thank the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium’s groundstaff (and drainage system) for their relentless work throughout the fifth day, though. After rain wiped out the first three hours of play, the umpires got the players out at 1pm, only for the rain to return within seven minutes. It came down for another couple of hours before the groundstaff ensured play was possible at 4:20pm despite the dark clouds around.
But it was not just Rashid or the groundstaff that gave them this win. It is an all-round performance from Afghanistan that they churned out over the five days. Rahmat Shah’s historic first Test century, Asghar Afghan’s twin fifties, as well as contributions from debutants Ibrahim Zadran and Zahir Khan ripped the heart out of a home side which failed to turn up all game.
Brief Scores: Afghanistan 342 (Rahmat 102, Afghan 92, Taijul 4-116) and 260 (Ibrahim 87, Afghan 50, Shakib 3-58) beat Bangladesh 205 (Mominul 52, Mosaddek 48*, Rashid 5-55) and 173 (Shakib 44, Shadman 41, Rashid 6-49) by 224 runs