Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam on Tuesday said that the absence of premier bowler Sakib al Hasan gave him additional space and responsibility to perform well during the ongoing Test series against Zimbabwe.
Taijul was enjoying the form of his life, picking up 5-107 on Tuesday, his third consecutive five-wicket haul in the series that helped Bangladesh bowl out Zimbabwe for 304 runs in the first innings.
The 26-year old left-arm spinner took 11 wickets in the first Test in Sylhet but could not bring the spotlight on him after Bangladesh had lost the game by 151 runs owing to their batting failure.
He hardly could have done anything better than what he did in the first innings that gave Bangladesh a 218-run lead, giving the home side a huge boost in their pursuit of a series leveling win.
Taijul attributed his success to his greater role, being the most experienced bowler of the side in the absence of fellow left-arm spinner Sakib.
‘Due to the absence of Sakib Bhai, I’m getting more chances to bowl,’ he told reporters after third day’s play in Mirpur.
‘If he was in the team, there would not be same type of additional responsibility on me. But I am really enjoying it,’ Taijul said.
Taijul did not want to rest on his laurels of the first Test and gave Bangladesh their first breakthrough in the second Test when he dismissed Zimbabwe skipper Hamilton Masakadza on the second day.
He continued in the same vein once play resumed on the third day as he removed nightwatchman Donald Tiripano for eight to break a frustrating stand that stood firm for nearly 50 minutes.
In the second session, the left-arm spinner delivered two excellent deliveries in a quick succession to bowl Sean Williams (11) and Sikandar Raza (0) out and leave Zimbabwe struggling at 131-5.
Although Bangladesh struggled to break the resilience of Brendan Taylor and Peter Moor, who formed a 139-run partnership, Taijul lifted his game just in time to finish things up before the game slipped out of hands.
‘It might take us a bit of long time than expected. They made a good partnership and it happens in cricket. But I didn’t lose my hope,’ he said.
‘It’s really a matter of joy for every cricketer when he delivers good performance. But team comes first. Our team is now in good position,’ he added.
Taijul’s hat-trick five-wicket haul in a Test innings is quite rare for Bangladesh if not completely unique as only two bowlers – his fellow left-arm spinners Enamul Haque Jnr and Sakib – had achieved that milestone previously in 2005 and 2008 respectively.
It was not only his bowling that made Taijul a special performer on the day as he also took a spectacular catch at the deep that ended Taylor’s innings.
On a day when Bangladesh missed several catches, Taijul’s effort was a relief for the team.
‘You have to take these catches or you will miss it. I was fully determined to take the catch so I dived,’ Taijul said.
Bangladesh v Zimbabwe
Stumps, Day 3
Bangladesh first innings 522-7dec (Mushfiq 219 not out, Mominul 161; K Jarvis 5-71)
Zimbabwe first innings (overnight 25-1)
H Masakadza c Mehedi b Taijul14
B Chari c Mominul b Mehedi53
D Tiripano c Mehedi b Taijul8
B Taylor c Taijul b Mehedi110
S Williams b Taijul11
S Raza b Taijul0
P Moor lbw b Ariful83
R Chakabva c Mominul b Taijul10
B Mavuta c Ariful b Mehedi0
K Jarvis not out9
T Chatara retired out0
Extras (b5, lb1)6
Total (all out; 105.3 overs)304
Fall of wickets: 1-20 (Masakadza), 2-40 (Tiripano), 3-96 (Chari), 4-129 (Williams), 5-131 (Raza), 6-270 (Moor), 7-290 (Taylor), 8-290 (Mavuta), 9-304 (Chakabva)
Mustafiz 21 8 58 0
Khaled 18 7 48 0
Taijul 40.3 10 107 5
Mehedi 20 3 61 3
Mahmudullah 2 0 14 0
Ariful 4 2 10 1
Source: New Age.