Lyon raids Tigers' den
Bangladesh's quest to seal their fourth-ever series win and more importantly their first against a quality side came unstuck at Chittagong yesterday when Australia recorded a thumping seven-wicket win with a day to spare at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
Defeat on the fourth day of the second Test once again highlighted Tigers' second-innings debacle along with their inability to tackle off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who hurt the home side throughout the series and finished with a match-haul of 13 in the port city.
The Aussies, who lost the opening Test by 20 runs in Dhaka a week ago, not only levelled the series 1-1 with yesterday's win but also made sure they return home happy. It was evidenced in the broad smile on Glenn Maxwell's face after he smashed a huge six over mid-wicket off off-spinner Nasir Hossain for the winning runs.
Australia needed only 86 to win after Bangladesh, starting their second innings with a 72-run deficit, were bundled out for 157. The visitors finished the chase in 15.3 overs with Maxwell hitting an unbeaten 25.
The easy win was fashioned by Lyon. Player-of-the-series alongside David Warner, the 30-year-old has been terrific throughout the series, taking an astonishing 22 wickets in two Tests, the best haul by an Australian bowler in a two-match series, surpassing spin legends Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill.
The Tigers batsmen fell like a house of cards on a fourth-day pitch which has started to produce huge turn. Soumya Sarkar was the first one to depart on five to pacer Pat Cummins when he edged a simple catch to first slip and continued his awful run in the series.
After brief resistance from Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal, Lyon started the carnage when he had a charging Tamim stumped for 12. It was a game Tamim would definitely want to forget.
The pressure was mounting on Imrul to score but he too failed as the home side went on to lose the next three wickets in the span of 11 runs. Imrul tried to check his punch at a loopy Lyon delivery that held on to the surface and undid the left-hander who only managed to give a simple catch to cover, scoring 15.
Shakib Al Hasan was the third Lyon victim when he followed a sharp turner but only managed to edge it to second slip for two.
Bangladesh tried to shuffle the batting order to unsettle Lyon with a left and right hand combination, promoting Nasir Hossain to number four, but he too perished for the fourth time to a left-arm spinner in the series with just five to his name, this time to Steve O'Keefe.
The home side were in danger of an innings defeat by then, reeling at 43 for five, but Sabbir Rahman and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim rebuilt the innings as they did in the first innings when the Tigers lost their first five wickets for 117 runs. The pair managed to survive the initial damage and went for lunch with Bangladesh on 83 for five. They added 54 runs for the sixth wicket before Sabbir was stumped for the second time in the game coming down the track scoring 24.
The afternoon session promised revival with a Mushfiqur-Mominul Haque 32-run sixth-wicket stand and then a Mominul-Mehedi Hasan 20-run partnership for the seventh wicket. But the Australians were always on the ball as they continued to snuff out any hint of Bangladeshi resistance.
It was Mominul's dismissal 15 minutes before the break that raised the possibility of the visitors wrapping up the match inside the fourth day with Bangladesh taking tea at 154 for eight. Lyon picked up his third consecutive five-wicket haul with Mominul's wicket. Number 10 Taijul Islam could not last very long after the interval, as he was the ninth wicket to fall after the addition of just two more runs when he was bowled by a Lyon arm-ball.
Set 86 to win, centurion of the first innings Warner was out for eight, caught at deep mid-wicket while pulling a bouncer from left-arm paceman Mustafizur Rahman. But the visitors were never in trouble. Maxwell and Peter Handscomb, who hit an unbeaten 16, finished the chase
Aussie skipper Smith (16) and Matt Renshaw (22) were the other casualties in that small chase against a Bangladesh attack that missed the services of off-spin of Mehedi Hasan, who injured his bowling thumb by a nasty Pat Cummins bouncer while batting and did not return to the field during the Australian chase.
Earlier, Australia were unable to add a run to their overnight total of 377 for nine on their first innings after Mustafizur Rahman took the last wicket to finish with figures of four for 84.
That was probably the only positive thing for the home side in a match where they suffered a top-order collapse, not once but twice, and succumbed to that familiar second-innings hara-kiri syndrome.