It was almost inevitable in some stages of Sakib al Hasan’s career. He created at least four opportunities in the past, came close on two occasions and missed it agonisingly.
But anyone with the slightest idea of his capability as an all-rounder knew Sakib would get a five-for in an innings and a century in the same Test match sooner or later in his career.
And they came finally on Tuesday with Sakib adding 6–82 to his 144 runs in the first innings which predictably made him the first Bangladeshi to achieve the feat.
A total of 20 cricketers have taken five or more wickets with a century in the long history of Test cricket before Sakib but if six wickets are taken into account, the number comes down to only six.
Sir Ian Botham, who did it three times, and Imran Khan, who did it the last time in 1983, are in the elite club. Nearly 31 years after Imran’s 117 and 6–98 against India at Faisalabad, Sakib has done this against his home country to underline his credential as a complete all-rounder.
Sakib could have achieved this in the same match that established him as bowler against New Zealand in October 2008 but he was out on 71 after taking 7–36, which still remains the best bowling figure for Bangladesh.
His second chance was against Sri Lanka in Dhaka when he had taken 5–70 and was dismissed on 96, leading an improbable chase of 521 runs in the fourth innings.
Incidentally, Sakib’s bowling and batting figures were again 5–70 and 96 when he had his third chance against West Indies at Grenada. The only difference was that this time he finished not out as Bangladesh successfully chased the target.
In the last Test match played in Dhaka against West Indies in October, the platform was again ready for him. He took 5–63 to keep West Indies somewhat in check and was later tasked with the job of saving the Test match.
He was about to do it before a moment of madness saw him playing an improvised shot that ended his innings on 55 and Bangladesh folded almost immediately to suffer a defeat.
He was wicketless in the first Test in Chittagong, his first in three years since his rebirth as a bowler in the same ground against the Kiwis, which led to whispering around the corridor of the Bangladesh Cricket Board if he had lost his bite as a bowler.
But he took no time to announce that he has still enough firepower both with bat and ball that not only gave him the rare feat but also kept Bangladesh in the match until the fourth day afternoon.
Bangladesh blew their chance of drawing the game with their erratic batting in the second innings and even a man of his calibere could not stem the rot this time.
But one can hardly blame Sakib for his dismissal on six as he was on the field in all 12 sessions played in this Test match in one or other capacity.
After nearly three sessions with the bat on the second and the third day, he went on to bowl 22.5 overs at a stretch on the fourth day in the either side of lunch
break, taking a great toll on him.
Coach Stuart Law there rubbished the suggestion of sending him early in the second innings, saying one must not expect him alone to do everything.
‘When he’s a quality cricketer, he’s carrying Bangladesh at the moment on the strength of his own bat and bowling as well,’ Law said.
‘He came in at 4–43 in the first innings and got 144. I’d like to see him bat at No 5 and not bowl 40 overs in the innings,’ he said.
‘You want to get him out there as [early as] possible. You still want to give him time to calm down and rest. He’s happy where he is,’ Law added.
-With New Age input