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Tigers complete 20 years of Test cricket debut

FE SPORTS DESK | November 11, 2020 00:00:00

Bangladeshi batsman Aminul Islam raises his hands to celebrate after hitting a century on November 11, 2000 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on the second day of Bangladesh's inaugural Test match against India (left), the Bangladesh players applaud Aminul Islam's century from the pavilion (top) and the Bangladesh team pick up souvenirs at the end of the Test — AFP/ ESPNcricinfo

Bangladesh cricket has completed its journey of 20 years of Test cricket on Monday. On November 10, 2000, was the first day of Bangladesh's maiden Test, against India at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.

On the day, the iconic Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka played hosts to the historic entry of Bangladesh into Test cricket. The move to award them Test status was viewed with scepticism by most people as Bangladesh had not done enough to prove their credentials at the highest level, save for the stunning victory over Pakistan at the 1999 World Cup.

However, they were up for the contest on their big day and gave India a few nervous moments, until the tourists unleashed their superiority.

Naimur Rahman had the honour of captaining his country in their first-ever Test. Interestingly, it was Sourav Ganguly's first Test as India captain - the start of a journey that saw memorable victories in the years that followed. Apart from the eleven Bangladeshi debutants, India introduced three new players to the Test arena.

Bangladesh's captain Naimur Rahman said in an interview it was a celebration. There was a formal opening ceremony, which was attended by our prime minister and cricketing greats from the past. Representatives from boards that supported us - and even some who didn't - also attended.

Aminul Islam and Habibul Bashar helped Bangladesh pile 400 in the first innings after they elected to bat first. The fluent Bashar - he is one the best-ever batsmen produced by Bangladesh - raced to 71.

However, Aminul was gritty and very attritional. Nevertheless, his knock of 145 braved the odds stacked against them and handled the pressure of the occasion very well. That he batted for 535 minutes was a tremendous achievement. His vigil is still is the third highest score for his country.

In reply, India moved along smoothly until they lost wickets in a heap and found themselves at 236 for six. It was a precarious position and India certainly would not have wanted to suffer the embarrassment of conceding the lead. Sourav Ganguly and Sunil Joshi then reconstructed the innings and took India to 429. What followed was astonishing, but not surprising. Bangladesh were bundled out for 91, leaving India with 63 to win -a task they completed without any worries.

Even 20 years after that game, it makes an interesting reading and is of immense relevance. The first half of the game shows a good fight from Bangladesh, one that was truly commendable given the fact that it was their first Test. The second half is where it all went awry, as inexperience hurt them and they collapsed.

While Bangladesh have improved since that game, they still continue to exhibit such mediocrity with just a few sparks of brilliance.

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