The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India smell victory after heroics on Day III
- No. 11 Zaheer hits world record 75 - Career-best 248 n.o. by Sachin - Sourav recovering from fever

Dhaka: The Indians smashed records left, right and centre on Day III of the first Test at the Bangabandhu National Stadium. At stumps on Sunday, hapless Bangladesh were left staring at their 30th defeat in 33 Tests.

Sachin Tendulkar struck a career-best unbeaten 248, Zaheer Khan hit a world record 75 and Irfan Pathan bagged his second five-wicket haul of the match to reduce Bangladesh to 170 for eight in their second innings. India had earlier totalled 526 to gain a first-innings lead of 342.

It was Manjural Islam's maiden half-century (batting 50) which allowed the hosts to live another day. Tapash Baisya was the other not out batsman (17).

Left-arm seamer Pathan ripped through the top order, reducing Bangladesh to 36 for five before there was a semblance of fight. His figures, at the end of the day, read five for 31 off 12 overs.

Pathan's effort came after a record tenth-wicket partnership between Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan which enabled India post a mammoth total.

While Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 248, Zaheer's 75 was a world record for the best tally by any No. 11 batsman.

Faced with a huge first-innings deficit, Bangladesh buckled under pressure. Pathan completed his first 10-wicket match-haul in Tests with some lethal swing.

The left-armer struck with the very third ball of the innings, trapping Javed Omar (4) plumb in front. He then delivered a double-blow in his fourth over, removing captain Habibul Bashar (with a short ball) and Rajin Saleh (leg-before) in the space of four balls.

Pathan then sent back the dangerous Mohammed Ashraful with a vicious inswinger before wicketkeeper-batsman Khaled Mashud drove at a full-length delivery only to edge it to Dinesh Karthik.

Opener Nafis Iqbal was the lone recognised batsman to show any defiance. He made a determined 54 and, with Rana, helped Bangladesh recover with a stand of 66 for the sixth wicket.

Spin-twins Anil Kumble (two for 42) and Harbhajan Singh (one for 44) then got into the act to push Bangladesh further towards disaster. At 133 for eight, it looked like the match wouldn't go into the fourth day. Rana and tailender Baisya delayed the inevitable with an unbeaten 33-run stand for the ninth wicket.

Tendulkar and Zaheer had earlier frustrated the Bangladeshi bowlers with a rollicking partnership. Zaheer, coming in at 393 for nine with Sachin in his 190s, played an entertaining knock to bring up his maiden Test half-century.

The duo put on 133, bettering the previous Indian record of 109 between Ghulam Ahmed and Hemu Adhikari against Pakistan (in Delhi, 1952-53).

Sachin, who registered a record-equalling 34th Test hundred Saturday, converted it to his personal best of 248 (unbeaten) but it was Zaheer who stole the show. Zaheer's hurricane knock lasted 115 balls and was studded with eight fours and two sixes.

The previous best for a No. 11 batsman was 68 not out by New Zealander Richard Collinge (in Auckland, 1972-73).

Zaheer survived a close leg-before shout and also earned a reprieve when Mohammed Rafique at cover allowed a skier slip through his fingers. Sachin was also allowed to escape a routine run out as Bangladesh failed to lift fielding standards.

The 25-year-old Baroda player made the most of the chances as he hoisted left-arm spinner Rafique twice over mid-wicket. Zaheer's use of the long handle was also effective against the medium-pacers.

Resuming Sunday morning at 348 for seven, the overnight pair of Sachin and Anil Kumble were hardly troubled by the seamers.

Kumble dragged a Mashrafe Mortaza delivery on to his stumps.

Sachin brought up his fourth Test double century, as also India's 400, with a swept four to mid-wicket off Rafique.

The maestro's unbeaten knock spanned 552 minutes and 379 balls, and included 35 fours.

Meanwhile, Team India skipper Sourav Ganguly did not come out to field in the Bangladesh second innings as he was suffering from a mild fever.

According to manager Sudhakar Rao, Sourav was making steady recovery. (PTI)

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