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On this day: Bangladesh become the 10th nation to play Test cricket

10th November 2000 marked the beginning of a new Test nation. On this day, Bangladesh became the 10th team in the longest format of the game thus taking the tally of Test teams into double digits. The Asian country had previously played cricket as East Pakistan. Post-independence in 1971, Bangladesh began their international foray in 1979 and soon paved way for entry in Test cricket.

From Associate status to Test cricket

In 1979, Bangladesh played in the ICC Trophy which determined the associate teams playing in the ODI World Cup. The Asian side’s first ODI was against Pakistan in 1986 which the debutants lost by seven wickets. They had to wait for 12 years and 22 ODIs to celebrate their maiden victory in international cricket. Winning the ICC Trophy in 1997 secured Bangladesh’s spot in the 1999 World Cup. There the Bangla Tigers defeated Pakistan and Scotland to bolster their claim of gaining Test status.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury, the Bangladesh Cricket Board President at that time, played an influential role in gaining all the necessary votes for clinching the Test berth. At the ICC annual conference in June 2000, all nine Test nations voted in favour of Bangladesh’s red-ball debut. All set for the inaugural game, the hosts sent out invitations to India and England. India agreed to be the initiator.

The first Test

On 10th November, 11 Bangladeshi cricketers made their Test debut along with three Indians. Naimur Rehman, Bangladesh’s captain, won the toss and chose to bat first on the opening day. Shahriar Hossain faced the first ball. Habibul Bashar scored the first half-century as Bangladesh finished the first day on 239/6. Next day, Aminul Islam earned the distinction of scoring the first-ever Test century for Bangladesh.

The home side posted 400 in their first innings. India were in a tangle at 236/6 but Sourav Ganguly in his first Test as a captain raised a stand of 121 runs with Sunil Joshi to steer the team towards safety. Indian bowlers then bowled out Bangladesh for only 91 to set up an easy win on the fourth day. However, it was the fixture that was more significant than the result.

The aftermath

Like most other Test nations, Bangladesh struggled to establish themselves firmly in Test cricket. The senior teams plundered records against them as the Asian team kept developing. Bangladesh had to wait for five years to register their maiden Test win which came against the less-experienced Zimbabwean team. Bangla Tigers soon found their heroes and started winning more often. Now they have established themselves as a mid-table team capable of challenging the top nations.

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