Shahadat puts Tigers on top | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 24, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 24, 2008

Shahadat puts Tigers on top

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Zunaed Siddiqui, top scorer of the first Test between Bangladesh and South Africa so far, here flicks one off his pads on way to scoring an unbeaten 64 on the second day at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.Photo: STAR

Young Shahadat Hossain rose to a height that no paceman of the country has reached before with a six-wicket burst as Bangladesh put South Africa on a knife-edge after the eventful second day's play of the first Test at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.
His fantastic feat not only gave the hosts a first-innings lead against a team who won their previous four Tests by an innings but also gave the Tigers a third realistic chance to sniff a victory after similar situations in Multan in 2003 against Pakistan and at Fatullah two years ago over world beaters Australia.
And what added to that is an innings of authority by young opener Zunaed Siddiqui who accumulated an unbeaten 64 to stretch the overall lead to 147 with six second innings wickets intact.
In Multan, the Tigers grabbed a first innings lead of 106 runs. But a valiant century by captain Inzamamul Haq with the number 11 batsman saw the host side home. A similar scenario was revisited at Fatullah when captain Ricky Ponting snatched victory from the jaws of defeat despite conceding a first innings deficit of 158.
However, the situation here at the Sher-e-Bangla is altogether a different one as although being bowled out for a paltry 192 on the first day, Shahadat bowled with precision to earn a 22-run first innings lead.
Both Shahadat and Zunaed's efforts not only ensured the creditable lead but also extended the tally to a respectable stage as the Tigers recovered from early collapse to make 125 runs for four before the day's play was called off with three overs remaining due to bad light.
For records, it was only the sixth occasion that Bangladesh managed a first innings lead in their 51 Test appearances.
Everything will now depend on whether the remaining batsmen, especially Zunaed and his overnight batting partner Aftab Ahmed, who accompanied him with 13 runs, can keep their composure what they did in the testing last session yesterday as it is believed that anything near to a 300-run target would be a real challenge for the visitors on a pitch which already exposed their batting in the first essay.
If the aggressive and accurate Shahadat was the hero in the first session then it was Zunaed who showed priceless temperament to make his second half-century in his third Test appearance. The tall left-hander was quick to learn from his first innings mistake by keeping away from sluggish effort and struck five boundaries in 158 balls.
Shahadat might have drawn inspiration from the presence of Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed who went to the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium after lunch to see the match. He stayed there from 1:00pm to 3:25pm.
On arrival at the stadium, the chief adviser was received by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Maj Gen Sina Ibn Jamali. Air Force Chief Air Marshal SM Ziaur Rahman and other BCB officials were also present.
South African new bowling sensation Dale Steyn once again found the Bangladesh top-order wanting with his staggering pace by removing Tamim Iqbal (2), Shahriar Nafees (16) and Habibul Bashar (2) with the scoreboard reading only 29 for three.
Captain Mohammad Ashraful joined Zunaed to repair the damage, but Makhaya Ntini served the big blow by getting the edge of the Tigers skipper to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher to put end to the 56-run fourth wicket stand.
Like first innings Ashraful looked confident but could manage only 24 runs in 52 balls which featured a boundary and a six over deep square leg against spinner Johan Botha.
Earlier the morning indeed showed the day for the home team that they would finish on top.
The misery started for the South Africans when overnight batsman Ashwell Prince fell victim of run out in the second over of the day after they resumed the day on 76 for four and it was Shakib Al Hasan who ran from point to cover and threw the ball to wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, who made sure that the batsman's effort to go back to the crease was not good enough.
And then it was the story of Shahadat who claimed four more scalps to finish with figures of 6 for 27. But before that there was a dramatic dismissal effected by Bangladesh skipper Ashraful, who took a return catch off AB de Villiers to whom the ball reached on the second bounce.
It was however a perfect consolation for Ashraful as he dropped the same batsman off Mohammad Rafique on 30 runs at mid-off.
De Villiers's, who top scored with 46, dismissal saw the tourists going for lunch on 158 for eight. And it took only 36 minutes for the home side to wrap up their opponents' innings after the lunch thanks to Shahadat, who claimed his second five-for in 14 Test matches.

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