Masterful Mushfiqur Rahim scales new peak | Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 13, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:32 AM, November 13, 2018

Masterful Mushfiqur scales new peak

It was a day that witnessed an exhibition of true Test batsmanship from the ever-dependable Mushfiqur Rahim, who has set a high standard for Bangladesh when it comes to embodying the principles of extreme discipline and devotion to craft that has sadly been missing in many of his teammates.

From the dismal record of not reaching 200 in their last eight Test innings, which included their lowest ever Test total of 43 runs against the West Indies, Bangladesh have managed to emerge from the ashes.

Appropriately, playing the part of the phoenix was the most deserving Mushfiqur, who became the first Bangladeshi and the first wicketkeeper-batsman in Test cricket to record a second double hundred, helping the home side continue their dominance against Zimbabwe on the second day of the second and final Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

Riding on Mushfiqur's epic unbeaten 219, which featured 18 fours and a six, Bangladesh declared their first innings on 522 for seven and Zimbabwe finished the day on 25 for one, with the home side looking to take a vise-grip of the match on the third day.

Records fell left and right as the right-hander also made the highest score by a Bangladesh batsman, eclipsing Shakib Al Hasan's 217 against New Zealand in Wellington last year.

It was the fourth double hundred by a Bangladesh batsman and it was Mushfiqur who registered the maiden double hundred back in 2013 at Galle against Sri Lanka, which Tamim Iqbal crossed in 2015 against Pakistan by scoring 206 runs.

There were a few more records broken by the diminutive batsman in terms of facing the most number of deliveries and the most time spent at the crease by a Bangladesh batsman in the longest format.

The stage was set after the first day as Mushfiqur resumed the second day on 111 with Bangladesh aiming for a big first innings total on 303 for five.

Mushfiqur paired with stand-in skipper Mahmudullah Riyad and it looked as if both batsmen were heading for a big partnership. But Mahmudullah once again paid a heavy price for poking his bat out indecisively with non-existent feet movement off the bowling of Kyle Jarvis after scoring 36 runs.

Mushfiqur, however, remained as solid as he was on the first day while Ariful Haque was guilty of being dismissed in the same manner cheaply. After putting up a record fourth-wicket stand with Mominul on the first day, Mushfiqur then paired with Mehedi Hasan Miraz and added a Bangladesh record 144-run unbeaten stand for the eighth wicket.

 It took another 147 balls to reach his 150 after reaching his hundred in 187 balls. He started to open up more since then and his drive through extra cover off Sikandar Raza, with the off-spinner operating from around the wicket, was a piece of virtuoso batsmanship that will not be forgotten soon by those who witnessed it. But the focus remained rock solid on 199 when he watchfully played out a maiden over from leg-spinner Brandon Mavuta.

The moment arrived in his very next ball in the next over, when he pulled a Raza short ball towards square leg to take a single off his 407th delivery 15 minutes after tea and celebrated the feat in grand style.

Mehedi remained unbeaten on 68, his second half-century, which he scored with the help of five fours and a six.

Pacer Jarvis was the pick of the bowlers, bagging his third five-wicket haul and second against Bangladesh.

In reply left-arm spinner Taijul Islam, the hero of the first Test, removed Zimbabwe skipper Hamilton Masakadza on 14, who had been lucky to get that far as he was dropped at second slip by Ariful Haque to deny debutant pacer Khaled Ahmed a maiden Test wicket.

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