Bangladesh and the future of Test cricket
July 22, 2009 by Dileep
It’s taken them nearly nine years and 61 Tests, but Bangladesh finally have a series victory to savour against a major Test-playing entity. Unfortunately, the circumstances – Chris Gayle and friends on the picket line, and unfavourable TV times – were such that few outside of Dhaka and Chittagong noticed. There though, they’ll be talking of Shakib Al Hasan’s unbeaten 96 for years to come.
The number 96 has always had a special resonance in the history of cricket in Bangladesh. Exactly 50 years ago, on one of those matting pitches where batting could be such an ordeal, Neil Harvey played perhaps the greatest innings seen in what was formerly East Bengal. Mohammad Quamruzzaman, a veteran journalist, described it on the Banglacricket website.
“Harvey’s innings is the best I have ever seen,” he wrote. “When he was at 96, Fazal [Mahmood] took the new ball and displayed it to be the crowd in his raised right arm. As he started his run up, a low roar from the galleries began taking form. At the moment of his delivery broke Harvey’s wicket [sic], the roar became all pervading. A moment of pure inspiration.”
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