MIRPUR, June 17 (AP): Bangladesh beat Afghanistan by 546 runs on Saturday to record its biggest ever test victory in terms of runs.
It’s the third biggest victory in test cricket history in terms of runs, and Bangladesh appeared to do it easily.
Fast bowler Taskin Ahmed claimed career-best figures of 4-37 as Afghanistan was dismissed for 115 on Day 4 after being set a daunting target of 662.
Najmul Hossain helped the hosts set the tone for the victory with hundreds in each innings, becoming the second Bangladesh batter to achieve that milestone.
Bangladesh’s biggest previous win was by 226 runs against Zimbabwe in 2005. The margin in Mirpur was lower only than England’s 675-run win over Australia in 1928 and Australia’s 562-run win over England at The Oval in 1934.
Bangladesh’s pace attack dominated at the ground which has tended to assist spin in the past. As well as the wickets tumbling, Afghanistan had to deal with two batters being unable to continue their innings after being hit by rising deliveries — including last batter Zahir Khan.
“It was amazing to see the way bowlers responded in this heat,” Liton Das said after picking up a victory on his captaincy debut.
“Now we can say we have a quality pace attack. The spinners also bowled well. It was a good team game but credit to Najmul Hossain, Zakir and Mominul. Najmul got two centuries which was not easy in this heat.”
Taskin led the three-pronged pace attack, a rarity for Bangladesh at home, which claimed 14 wickets in the match.
Bangladesh broke through in the third over on Day 4 when Nasir Jamal nicked to the wicketkeeper as fast bowler Ebadot Hossain (1-22) straightened one off the pitch to take the outside edge. Nasir added just one to his overnight tally to be out on 6.
Amid the resistance of Rahmat Shah, who made a team-high 30, Bangladesh’s fast bowlers kept striking with left-arm paceman Shoriful Islam getting a double breakthrough in consecutive overs.
Shoriful, who returned figures of 3-28, had Afsar Zazai (6) caught at gully with a short-length delivery and then dismissed Bahir Shah (7), who was substituted in when skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi (13) was unable to continue after being hit by a Taskin bouncer on Day 3.
Taskin then got into the act, breaking the defense of Rahmat, who was caught behind with Afghanistan on 91-6.
He also got the better of Karim Janat (18) and Yamin Ahmadzai (1) to stand on the brink of his first five-wicket haul in an innings, but drama unfolded as last batter Zahir Khan survived twice in consecutive deliveries.
Firstly, he survived an appeal for caught behind when DRS showed no evidence of an edge, and then the next delivery rattled his stumps but was called a no-ball.
Two balls later, he was hit on the elbow while trying to duck a short ball and had to retire hurt.
“It didn’t go our way from the start of the match but we had some positives,” Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah said. “The thing was we played after a long break in tests. We will learn much more as as we play test cricket.”
Bangladesh was dismissed for 382 runs in its first innings, after a counterattacking 146 by Najmul. The hosts decided against enforcing the follow-on when Afghanistan, playing its first test since 2021, was dismissed for 146 in reply.
Najmul posted 124 in the second innings, making him the second Bangladeshi batter to hit centuries in each innings of a test. Mominul Haque ended a two-year century drought with 121 not out, helping his side reach 425-4 before declaring and setting Afghanistan an improbable 662-run target.
The teams will play three ODIs and two T20s in the next month.