Two men, who just fell short of individual milestones, found joy in helping their respective teams. Ishant Sharma, last had a five-wicket haul in an innings way back in December’ 2007 when he had a five for 118 against Pakistan at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium. At the other end of the spectrum, Mahmudullah Riyad is yet to score a Test century.

During the second Test at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium here on Sunday, Ishant just missed getting another five-for and ended up with four for 66 while Mahmudullah was left stranded on 96. The players however remained unfazed and sounded confident in their interaction with the media.

Ishant, who is slowly but surely finding his feet again after losing his rhythm and place in the squad, said that the low-phase helped him emerge stronger. “I have never seen that kind of hard time in my life as before that I was just going up, up and up. So that phase was needed I guess and it has been great learning experience,” Ishant said.

The lanky speedster said that he is improving and confident about the road ahead. “It has been a good start to the year. I am bowling better and it is good to do well and gain confidence ahead of the series against South Africa. Zaheer Khan helped me a lot and I am thankful to Veeru bhai (Sehwag), because he had a lot to do with me playing in the first Test at Chittagong,” Ishant said.

Mahmudullah, the day's other hero, said that he did not regret losing the hundred. “I have got 96 and I am not disappointed at all because in the end we have a good total. I just wanted to play positively and did not feel any pressure. I thought I will hit Pragyan Ojha over the top and get a four to reach my hundred but the field stayed back and I couldn’t get the single of the last ball,” Mahmudullah said.

The emerging Bangladesh all-rounder said that he enjoyed his tussle with Zaheer Khan. “It was good. I thought if he bounced and if it was in my range, I will play my shots,” Mahmudullah said and added: “Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh came over and said that I played a good knock though I missed a century and I felt so happy.”

Mahmudullah also expressed the hope that the Bangladesh top-order will fire in unison soon.

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