Today we were reminded of just how good test cricket can be. After 3 days and 6 ½ hours of what looked as if it was going to be a high scoring draw 30 minutes at the end of play yesterdays changed the course of the match.
For the second consecutive test in New Zealand we had a result in the final hour of play.
For Bangladesh this was part Tangiwai and part Adelaide. They ended up finding their own place in history by recording the highest first innings score in a loss; a record that had been held since the last 1890s.
But test cricket is tough, and it requires experience. The fact they had not played a test away from home in over two years was clearly a factor in what happened here. ICC, you should hang your collective heads in shame at this.
But what now constitutes safety? In England’s recent tour of India they twice lost tests by an innings having knocked up more than 400 batting first. In the recent Boxing Day test Pakistan batted into the third day posting well over 400 before they too lost the test by an innings.
Here, Bangladesh also batted an hour into the third day before calling it quits at 595/8. Some at the time thought they had batted too long; at that stage New Zealand was paying $15 for the win.
It would appear that in these days of batsmen scoring quickly and backing themselves if a test is not strictly mathematically safe it probably isn’t.
The size of New Zealand’s reply was probably no huge surprise given the state of the pitch and the inexperience of the Bangladesh attack. Their innings finally came to a close after Tea on Day Four, with 18 overs left in the day.
Conventionally, you would think the only chance of a result would be if New Zealand could make significant breakthroughs with the new ball.
Tamim and Imrul got off to a good start with no problems. Then Imrul badly injured himself when diving for a frankly stupid run. What was the point in that?
Maybe it was the sight of one of their players getting carted off on a stretcher spooked his team mates, but the match had changed.
A couple of wickets suddenly fell and then, on the last ball of the day, nightwatchman Mehedi was run out going for another stupid run. They were three down at stumps with a leading batsman hobbling back from hospital.
The Tangiwai aspect to the game had started, but so had the Adelaide like lack of confidence.
In theory losing a nightwatchman on the last ball of the day shouldn’t matter that much but it did mean the Shakib was in at the start of the last day. On Friday he batted like Sangakkara, but Adelaide took over and he holed out to Santner in the first full over of the day.
It was officially game on. Half an hour later Mushfiqur was in, batting with severley bruised fingers sustained during his extraordinary 159 in the first innings. Tangiwai.
He battled away for an hour showing true courage before being struck on the back of the head and collapsing**. Collective breaths were held as an ambulance came onto the field and took him to the hospital. Mercifully, it would appear he will recover fully.
The next big wicket was Rahman who had batted well in making his half century before slashing wildly at a wide one from Boult. Adelaide.
Imrul Kayes then returned to add some much needed boundaries. Tangiwai. But, due to his inability to run, the inexperienced tail at the other end could not be protected and New Zealand needed 217 to win, and the run rate was not an issue.
Then there was Kane Williamson. At 39/2 there could have been some jitters. But this was no Steady the Ship innings, this was sitting up on the foils and planing his side to victory.
** The Mushfiqur injury was sickening, and a reminder of the dangers of cricket. But that was not a bouncer. To claim it was is a bit of a cheap shot really