Taijul does the trick again
- Taijul Islam's seven-wicket haul for 116 is now ranked as the best figures by a Bangladeshi in Tests against Pakistan, surpassing Shakib Al Hasan's six-for in 2011 in Mirpur.
- He is the country's first bowler to have taken seven or more wickets in an innings on two occasions following the eight-for against Zimbabwe in Mirpur back in 2014, which still remains Bangladesh's best bowling figures in Tests.
- Taijul also became the leading wicket-taker for the Tigers against Pakistan with 19 wickets in four Tests, surpassing another left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique's tally of 17 wickets in three Tests.
- Pakistan innings' five leg-before-wicket dismissals all resulted off Taijul, who is in a league of his own as the only Bangladesh bowler to have scalped four lbws in one innings; whereas he has done it twice.
- And with his ninth five-wicket haul, the 29-year-old is now behind Shakib in the list of Bangladesh's most number of fifers in Tests.
Many may be unable to recall that Taijul Islam had taken five wickets in the last Test that he played for Bangladesh just over six months ago against Sri Lanka in Pallekele.
A humble character who does not seem to want the limelight, Taijul once again did his job silently as a magnificent seven-wicket haul against Pakistan helped Bangladesh take an all-important first-innings lead of 44 runs on the third day of the first Test in Chattogram yesterday.
It was virtually a contest between Taijul and the entirety of the Pakistani batting line-up, but the left-hand spinner did not disappoint, returning staggering figures of seven wickets for 116 runs -- the best bowling figures by a Bangladeshi against Pakistan.
The situation looked really difficult for the hosts as Pakistan began their innings with a 145-run opening-wicket stand between Abid Ali and Abdullah Shafique, who saw out the second day.
But Taijul broke that stand after the pair added just one run on the third day, trapping debutant Abdullah Shafique leg before with an armer off just the fifth ball that he bowled in the morning.
Taijul found himself on a hattrick after removing Azhar Ali with his next ball, squaring the batter up and employing late turn to hit his back leg and have him trapped leg before, bringing the sparsely populated Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium to life.
Patience has been Taijul's biggest strength over the years and the cricketer from Natore once again received rich dividends for sticking to the basics and bowling at the stumps on a consistent basis.
"Taijul's strength is his patience and accuracy. The best part of his bowling was that he didn't allow the Pakistani batters any scoring opportunities and used his pace variations really well. When you don't use your feet as a batsman, you are in trouble against Taijul because he will keep asking questions by bowling a consistent line. I think he deserves what he got and he is undoubtedly a world-class spinner," fellow left-arm spinner Enamul Haque Jr. said.
Taijul scalped his third and fourth wickets in the first session as well. Fawad Alam was totally deceived by a delivery that spun and also bounced in sharply from the footmarks before kissing his gloves on the way through to Liton Das, who grabbed a smart catch.
Another example of how accurate Taijul was yesterday is the fact that five of his seven wickets were leg before. He trapped centurion Abid Ali after lunch when the ball held its line after pitching in the middle stump and skidded through onto his front leg.
The 29-year-old not only filled the vacuum left by the absence of Shakib Al Hasan in the spin department, but played two vital roles by both containing runs and also picking up wickets. His economy of just over 2.5 runs per over says the rest.
"Since Shakib bhai is not there, I had to play his role in the team. There is also the issue of containing runs but at the same time you also have to pick wickets. I had to play both roles," Taijul said after the third day during a virtual press conference.
Taijul went on to pick his ninth five-wicket haul when he showed a glimpse of his vast experience after being struck for a six and a four by Hasan Ali. Off the very next ball, Hasan Ali came down the track for another heave but this time Taijul dragged back the length and turned the ball away from the batsman, allowing Liton to complete a simple stumping.
He also went on to break a 29-run last-wicket stand, dismissing Faheem Ashraf as Bangladesh, like on many an occasion in the past, rode on Taijul's mature shoulders to get into a better position in a Test match.