Since the dawn of the millennium, Bangladesh cricket has seen it all. They rose from the ashes, were destroyed by stronger teams, produced some special upsets, lost their most gifted batsman Mohammad Ashraful to match-fixing but every time they came out stronger than before and on Friday morning, their star player Shakib al Hasan gave his fans another moment off joy by breaking the record of highest individual score by a Bangladesh batsman which was previously held by Tamim Iqbal (206).
Batting against New Zealand on Day 2 of the Wellington Test, the all-rounder registered his name in the history books of Bangladesh cricket and reinforced the fact that his country’s cricket scene is heading in the right direction. Shakib walked in to bat when his side was struggling at 145/3 and the well-settled Mominul Haque (64) also departed 15 runs later.
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Shakib was joined by the Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim and the duo went after the Kiwi bowling. Rahim was the first one to counter-attack and played some beautiful cover-drives off Trent Boult and Neil Wagner. On the other hand, Shakib went about his business quietly and reached his fourth Test ton.
The Kolkata Knight Riders’ player picked up the tempo after that and played some glorious strokes. He raced his way to a maiden Test double century off just 254 balls at an impressive strike-rate of nearly 80. His innings included also 30 fours.
Mushfiqur Rahim also reached his century before getting dismissed by Trent Boult on 159. The duo also broke the record of highest ever partnership by a Bangladesh pair which was previously held by Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes who added 312 runs against Pakistan on April 28, 2015. Mushfiqur and Shakib added 359 runs for the fifth wicket. Shakib was batting on 210 when this piece was written.
Shakib’s innings is special because the hosts had white-washed Bangladesh in the ODI and T20 series last month. New Zealand won both the series 3-0 each. Also, in last few years Bangladesh have been crticised for not performing outside the Asian sub-continent but this performance will shut people for a while.
Since the 2015 world cup, Bangladesh’s stocks have risen in world cricket. They defeated India, South Africa and Pakistan in an ODI series each and also made it to the final of Asia Cup T20 held in 2016 where they were eventually defeated by India.