Zaheer Decimates Bangla, India Win Series 2-0
Zaheer Khan produced a devastating spell of swing bowling to decimate Bangladesh with a career-best seven for 87 as India crushed the hosts by 10 wickets in the second cricket Test and clinch the two-match series 2-0 in Mirpur on Wednesday.
After putting up stiff resistance yesterday, Bangladesh succumbed to a spectacular batting collapse today with Zaheer wreaking havoc, especially with his grasp of reverse swing.
Resuming on 228 for three, there was no hint of the hosts' impending doom as they saw through the first 19 overs without any hiccup.
Harbhajan Singh earned the breakthrough for India by removing overnight batsman Shahadat Hossain but it was Zaheer, who broke the back of the home side claiming three wickets in fours balls in the penultimate over before lunch as the home side collapsed for 312.
It was a dramatic collapse by the home side which lost their final seven wickets for just 22 runs.
Needing just two runs to complete the formality for a facile win, neither Virender Sehwag not Gautam Gambhir could open their account as Bangladesh conceded two bye runs to lose the Test with more than four sessions to spare.
Zaheer, who was adjudged both Man of the Match and Man of the Series, today became only the fourth Indian fast bowler to take 10 wickets in an away Test.
With three wickets in Bangladesh first innings, Zaheer ended the match with career-best figures of 10 for 149, eclipsing his nine for 134 that came against England at Nottingham in 2007.
Harbhajan drew first blood after the drinks break in the morning when Amit Mishra made amends for his earlier lapse and caught Shahadat (40).
Mishra had dropped the batsman when he was on 33.
Nine balls after Shahadat's departure, Mohammad Ashraful (25) followed suit. Pragyan Ojha, who till then looked pedestrian, got the ball to bounce and turn and the batsman offered an outside edge which nestled into Mahendra Singh Dhoni's gloves.
Two overs later, captain Shakib Al Hasan (7) as he holed out to Gautam Gambhir at square leg while trying to clear the boundary off Ojha.
This was followed by a six-over lull before Zaheer sent back three batsmen from four balls to leave Bangladesh in tatters.
Zaheer first had Raqibul Hasan for five as the superb delivery crashed at the stumps after kissing the pad of the batsman who tried to leave it alone.
Two balls later, Murali Vijay took a stunning catch at the slip to remove Mahmadullah Riyad (0) and the next ball sent Shafiul Islam's stumps cartwheeling for a first ball duck.
Rubel Hossain denied Zaheer a hat-trick even though he fell to the left-arm seamer in his next over to complete Bangladesh's collapse.
India's victory came in the second ball of their second innings as the Shakib Al Hasan delivery went past Virender Sehwag's bat and through stumper Mushfiqur Rahim's legs and Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir ran two to complete the win.
Sehwag wanted to finish the formality in the first delivery itself but could not connect his swish on the off-side.
Incidentally, this was not the first time that a team chased down a winning target without any of their batsman scoring a run off their bat.
In the 1983 Barbados Test against India, West Indies got the one run they needed to win the match when the first delivery of Syed Kirmani -- who kept wicket in the match -- turned out to be a no-ball.
Today's win also kept intact Dhoni's record of not losing a single Test as a captain. PTI