After yesterday?s win one expected the winning team to play for the final ODI. The news came in late that Nazmul was out with an injury and Mushfiq was in. Defintely not welcome news but the bigger surprise was yet to come. Tapash apparently injured himself as well, and Hasibul Hossain, the right arm medium pacer, was to play instead of him. Indeed interesting decisions from the selectors and of course a bad one. India fielded their strongest available side and the openers Tendulkar and Sehwag were clearly in the mood to hit the medium pacers all over the field. They saw Mashrafe off with respect and went after Hasibul and Mushfiq.
Mushfiq?s first two overs went for 30 runs and the openers slaughtered Hasibul?s gentle pace. Four overs (10-13) produced 60 runs and the Indians seemed set for a huge score. Sehwag brought his 50 up in no time. Bashar removed Mushfiq and brought in Khaled Mahmud and the change proved successful right from the first ball. Pilot took a nice catch off a faint edge keeping right behind the stumps off Mahmud. Tendulkar fell 3 short of his half century. Rafique and Mahmud kept the pressure on and brought down the run rate but the runs were still coming in nicely and a big score was very much on the cards.
Mahmud struck again when Sehwag fell to a superb catch on the long on boundary by Ashraful. Ganguly and Dravid played the build up innings both scoring convincing half centuries. Both of them were dropped before reaching their 50s. Bashar tried to slip in Mushfiq to get a few overs by the quiet batsmen but the gamble didn?t pay off and Mushfiq again saw his deliveries seeing the boundary ropes once too often. After the Ganguly wicket, Kaif and Dravid ran quick singles, converted the 1s to 2s and the 2s to 3s but the worst was yet to come. After Dravid?s fall, Yuvraj Singh unleashed a quickfire innings, whacking everyone all around the field be it Mashrafe or Rafique. At one point it seemed odd when he took singles. His effortless shots for sixes made even Mashrafe look ordinary. The 300 was up and there was still no stopping him.
Yuvraj got his 50 in 22 balls. Kaif was more than happy to give the strike to Yuvraj. The fielders had absolutely nothing to do as the ball blazed past them even before they had a chance to move. Yuvraj finally fell in the last over, to Mahmud, his 3rd wicket of the day, trying to clear the man at long-on. Aftab held on to a simple catch. Dhoni came in to bat with 3 balls to go in the innings and he whacked a six the first ball he faced. 118 came off the last 10 overs. The innings came to an end right after India scored 348 for 5. It was indeed the exact comeback for India after the defeat in the 2nd ODI. The Bangladeshi attack couldn?t make a single dent on the Indian innings.
More to come...
The author is a distinguished member of banglacricket forum and goes by the nick "radicalsami" - editors