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The Daily Star, Bangladesh Minhaz saves the blushes
Nizamuddin Ahmed - 24 May 1999

EDINBURGH, May 24: If you wanted to see all four seasons in an hour, Edinburgh's Grange Cricket Club on Monday was the place. It was cold, wet and windy conditions under which your might want to curb up in front of a fireplace instead of being at a cricket match. It was not surprising that the stalls were half filled.

The wicket was harder than usual because there had been some dry days ahead of the match. The baked, bone-dry, grassy wicket gave unusual bounce to the wicket, particularly at the pavilion-end, which turned opening bowler John Blain into a villain.

Scotland won the toss and you would expect, with their inside knowledge of how the Grange wicket behaves early on in a match on a day as windy and wet as this, skipper George Salmond put Bangladesh in.

Bangladesh were dead and almost buried in the first ten overs until Naimur Rahman and Minhajul Abedin played a duet to resuscitate the innings. The pair put on 69 runs for the sixth wicket to take Bangladesh from a pathetic 26 for five to 95.

That was not enough even the likes of Scotland, but Khaled Mahmud failed to apply tips from the dressing room and handed Salmond a decent catch at mid wicket in the very fourth ball he faced.

Vice captain Mahmud was not the only man out for a duck. There were three others before him to account for the worst start Bangladesh had in the tournament.

Bangladesh soon failed the 'B' test as got Blain and Butt into their threatening strides. As the Scottish bowlers turned the grass-top into a bowling alley, the Bangladesh batsmen could only to be blamed for their self-inflicted misery.

Without venturing to deny Butt and Blain the credit for getting a flip from their own wicket, the Bangladesh top-order trudged off to the pavilion while trying to play maverick shots instead of defensive strokes on a pitch that was dodgy from the word 'play'.

Makeshift opener Khaled Masud gave Bangladesh the all too familiar usual shaky start as he holed out at third man to Philip, trying to pull across a rising Blain bomber. Masud, out for naught, was Bangladesh's new find at the top.

Mehrab Hossain was impatient, and he eventually offered a leading edge to long-on to give Dyer enough time to hold on to a high catch. He was out on three.

Skipper Aminul Islam was a bit unlucky to have been given out lbw to Blain, for the ball was on the rise and had struck him sufficiently high to get the benefit of doubt. However that lbw decision reduced his side to three for 13. His zero did not ring warming bells for his predecessor Akram, who also went for a duck.

Akram Khan, rather shaky in all the three games, lost his way again and nudged a simple catch to first slip, giving Philip his second catch.

Faruque Ahmed, another of the three former captains' playing and making World Cup debuts, appeared initially to have understood that the rot was eating, but he too went cheaply by allowing Blain to rattle the stumps.

In led Minhazul to lay bricks on a sagging foundation. He had the right mason as a partner in Naimur. The sixth-wicket pair put on a handsome display of true grit to squirm out of the Scottish grapple.

The pair pumped in 69 runs in 89 minutes to elevate Bangladesh from the deep gorge of the highlands. Naimur hit five fours in his 58-ball stay at the crease, scoring a very creditable 36 before mistiming a Stanger delivery, only to give catch at mid-on off the bowling of Brinkley. The sixth wicket was broken at 95.

Minhazul was more boisterous in scoring his unbeaten 68 that came off a very responsible 116-ball vigil. On the way, he clobbered six fours and several other magnificent shots in his customary flowing style. Minhazul's 50 came in 104 balls, taking Bangladesh to 158 for eight.

The seventh wicket stand vanished in a flash with Khaled Mahmud undone by Dyer.

Minhazul then built an arch over his previous wall with the help of Enamul Haque. A 37-run eighth wicket partnership rode Bangladesh to 133 and to some respectability.

It was enough to wind up the lively band of Bangladeshis, clad in national colours and led by two ``tigers'', attired appropriately, that had apparently never given up hope.

Hasibul Hussain then paired with Minhazul for the ninth wicket to extract a very useful 31 runs.

In Minhazul's last battle, he found Manjurul Islam in the bunker. They came out to bludgeon through the final overs to carry Bangladesh to 185 without any further damage. The tenth pair put on 21 runs.

Blain finished with four wickets at the expense of 37 runs. Butt, a Lahore-born cricketer of Pakistani origin, took 2 for 24, Dyer 2 for 26 and costly Brinkley one for 45.

Source: The Daily Star, Bangladesh
Editorial comments can be sent to The Daily Star at webmaster@dailystarnews.com