Zaheer needed a match-winning haul

29 Jan 2010 by Mahendra Prasad in India Vs Bangladesh Test Series 2010

A 2-0 scoreline suggests a one-sided contest, but believe me the India-Bangladesh Test series was far from one. In both the Tests, the host nation had India in trouble, but struggled to take full advantage of it and ended up conceding the series rather meekly in the end.

India, on the other hand, did impress in bits and phases. However, overall their performance against the lowly-placed Bangladeshis left a lot to be desired, the final result not withstanding. Still, a series win is a series win and India can take in a number positives as they head into the next challenge – a tough home series against South Africa.

The biggest plus for the visitors from this series was the rhythm-rediscovery of Ishant Sharma. The lanky paced, who seemed to be losing his efficiency in recent times, was nearer to his best against Bangladesh. Okay, so it wasn’t the stiffest opposition and thus one cannot read a lot into it.

But, at least this series will give Ishant the much-needed confident boost. He picked up wickets at regular intervals, and more importantly, was successful in maintaining a proper line and keeping the runs down even when he was not getting wickets.

Though not as important, this series meant a lot to Zaheer Khan too. He hadn’t been at his best in the recent series’ since making a comeback. And, as he himself admitted, he is still to rediscover his best.

Yet, the match-winning spell on what turned out to be the final day at Mirpur was something he desperately needed. The seven-wicket haul in the second innings will be etched in the left-arm seamer’s memory for a while, considering India were struggling to break through at one stage.

Deservedly, he ended up picking up the Man of the Match as well as the Man of the Series awards.

If Ishant and Zaheer were hot, there were some equally disappointing performances among the bowlers as well. Sreesanth, who announced his comeback to Test cricket with a five-wicket haul just recently, looked totally lost.

He sprayed the ball all over to be taken for plenty of runs. To add to the frustration, he bowled plenty of no-balls and to make things worse, ended up pulling a hamstring. Harbhajan Singh remained a disappointment in the one Test he played while both Amit Mishra nor Pragyan Ojha proved potent in the one outing they got, but weren’t eye-catchy in any sense.

But for the failure in the first innings at Chittagong, the batting lived up to the expectations. Gautam Gambhir continued to pile on the runs, though he missed out on a sixth consecutive Test hundred. His opening partner Virender Sehwag did not seem interested in playing the long innings against a weak opposition, but made sure he gave the side a good platform in Gambhir’s company.

All the experienced hands – Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman and Dhoni – made substantial contributions when needed, Yuvraj Singh remaining the sole disappointment.

All in all, some good practice for India ahead of the South Africa series.

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