Tucker’s debut ton keeps Ireland alive in Mirpur Test
Lorcan Tucker hit a century on debut as Ireland recovered from a shaky start to keep the one-off Test against Bangladesh alive, showing an unwavering resolve on day three at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur on Thursday.
Resuming the day at 27-4 and with a fear of being rolled out in a session against a much-vaunted spin attack of Bangladesh, Ireland put a brave face to give them a faint hope to pull off a miraculous victory.
For a grim stat, Bangladesh have never won their first match against any Test nation.
Tucker’s ton, complemented by Harry Tector and Andy McBrine’s half-century, helped Ireland survive the third day and ended on 286-8 at stumps, leading Bangladesh by 131 runs.
Tucker who made 108 off 162 with 14 fours and one six indeed became the second Irish batter to hit a century on debut after Kevin O’Brien.
He formed two significant partnerships-72 with Harry Tector for the sixth wicket and 111 with Andy McBrine for the seventh wickets to give Ireland a lead.
Bangladesh was bowled out for 369 in its first innings in reply to Ireland’s 214, taking a 155-run lead.
Tector, one of the six debutants of Ireland, followed his 50 in the first innings with 56 and McBrine, who registered a best bowling figure by an Irish bowler in the first innings with 6-118, was batting on 71.
In all, Bangladesh were able to take just four wickets, which was the testament of the temperament of the Irish batters in their only fourth Test.
After resuming the day, Ireland hit back brilliantly thanks to Harry Tector and Peter Moor who added a little but significant 38-run for the fourth wicket. The partnership boosted the Irish confidence to a great extent.
The hosts could have got the wicket of Tector early in the third morning as he edged a slower delivery of left-arm spinner Taijul Islam behind the wicket when on 9 but wicket-keeper Liton Das put it down.
Tector then made Bangladesh paying for it heavily, frustrating them throughout the morning session.
Pacer Shoriful Islam finally broke the partnership, when Moor edged a moving delivery behind the wicket to be out on 16.
But Tucker’s arrival paced the scoreboard as his bold approach to attack the spinners, specially left-arm spinner Taijul Islam, paid off.
Tector raised his second fifty in the Test then off 145 balls, with an outside edge of Khaled Ahmed delivery that flew into the gap between the slips and gully.
But after a little while Taijul had him leg-before after Tector tried to paddle sweep a delivery that didn’t turn much.
Bangladesh got a ray of after the dismissal of Tector but Tucker and McBrine frustrated them further to take the match to the last session when the hosts believed they could wrap up the innings in the first session.
Both Tucker and McBrine showed courageous approach of going after the Bangladeshi spinners fearlessly, which paid off nicely for them.
Tucker however drove Taijul to the mid-wicket for a single to raise his fifty on debut Test off 94 balls and went on to strength to strength, much to the despair of the Bangladeshi bowlers.
McBrine’s assured presence at the other end also boosted him, as he kept punishing Bangladesh bowlers.
He however drove Taijul Islam for a boundary through mid-off region to raise his hundred off just 149 balls.
But Tucker couldn’t prolong the innings as Ebadot Hossain had him caught by Shoriful Islam with the second new ball.
Taijul Islam then removed Mark Adair for 13 to end the day as the best Bangladesh bowler with 4-86. Skipper Shakib Al Hasan, a left-arm spinner who bagged two wickets on day two, bowled only six overs on day three. McBrine and Graham Hume, who was on 9, saw out the day without further trouble.