A GOOD DAY'S WORK: Centurion Abul Hasan (R) and Mahmudullah Riyad leave the field smiling after pulling Bangladesh out of a disastrous situation at the end of the first day's play in the second Test against the West Indies in Khulna yesterday. Photo: Firoz Ahmed
A century old record was crushed underfoot by an unheralded 20-year old boy from Moulvibazar as the last session of the first day of the second Test between Bangladesh and West Indies exploded into high drama.
It was the kind of return only Test cricket is capable of producing as obscure debutant Abul Hasan became the first batsman in 110 years to score a hundred on debut while batting at number ten. Hasan who has been drafted into the side as a specialist fast bowler in place of Shahadat Hossain, defied the odds and a fiery Fidel Edwards to rescue Bangladesh from a precarious 193 for eight to a respectable 365 for 8 at stumps and provide the partisan crowd at Bangladesh's newest venue with plenty to cheer. It was also Bangladesh's highest total in a single day of Test cricket.
Hasan scored a whirlwind 100 off just 108 balls, as he associated in a 172-run unbeaten stand with the defiant Mahmudullah Riyad who ended the day unbeaten on a classy 72.
It had all looked unlikely after the deadly Fidel Edwards (5-81) had made mockery of both the slow, low and flat pitch at the Sheikh Abu Naser stadium and Mushfiqur Rahim's decision to bat first by skittling most of the Bangladeshi top-order.
Bangladesh were five down for 98 runs and only a 87-run sixth wicket partnership between Mushfiqur Rahim (38) and Nasir Hossain (52) restored some pride. But even at 193 for 8, the West Indians could have considered themselves happy with their day's work.
But in stepped Hasan to change the whole complexion of the game.
The left-hander was dropped by Darren Bravo at short-leg on 42, but mixed his innings with aggression and calm. He played his share of slogs but when required he applied himself like a true specialist. Hasan completed his half-century in style whopping a six against Darren Sammy over long-off and the only time he obviously struggled was in the nervous nineties. But a flicked double off Sunil Narine got him to the magical landmark.
Hasan became only the second Test debutant to make a hundred at number 10 after Australian Reggie Duff made it over a century ago against England in 1902 and overall he is the fourth batsman to make a century as a number ten. He is just 18 shy of the world record of the highest score by a number 10, which was made by Walter Read of England when he stroked 117 against Australia in 1884.
Hasan now finds himself in exalted company as far as Bangladeshi centurions are concerned as he joins Aminul Islam and Mohammad Ashraful as the only other Bangladeshis to have achieved that feat. But while the former two were renowned as batsmen of repute, Hasan's position as specialist fast bowler makes the achievement even more remarkable.
A lot of credit for Hasan's innings should probably go to his partner Mahmudullah as the tall Bangladeshi middle-order batsman played a brisk yet responsible knock, rotating the strike expertly. Mahmudullah scored 72 from 89 balls with nine boundaries; his second consecutive half-century of the series.
For the Khulna public and even the opposition West Indies, the events of the last session began to take a fairytale feel and Hasan's hundred served only to drive home that fact. As far as opening days go, Khulna could hardly have asked for a better debut. As neither could have Hasan. The West Indies though, are probably soul searching.