New Delhi: Team India’s dream run in the longest format of the game continued on Sunday as Virat Kohli and his boys inched closer to another Test win this season.
Having already decimated New Zealand and England, the one-off Test against Bangladesh at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal was expected to be a walk in the park for Kohli’s boys. And the script has unfolded on excepted lines with India needing another seven wickets on the final day to stretch their unbeaten run to 19 Tests.
Test matches are won in sessions and a look at the graph shows a clear case of domination from the home side as India have dominated 10 of the 12 sessions played so far. Barring for the second and third session on the third day, when the Bangladesh batsmen played out of their skins, it has been India all the way.
At stumps on the fourth day, Bangladesh were 103 for three, still requiring another 356 runs to win. Mahmudullah (9) and Shakib Al Hasan (21) are the two batsmen at the crease. Interestingly, this is the first time the visitors have stretched a Test against India to the final day without any assistance from weather or rain.
After a subdued performance by his own high standards, Ashwin was back in the thick of things on the fourth afternoon as India declared at tea on 159/4, with Cheteshwar Pujara hitting an attacking 54* and Jadeja unbeaten on 16 off 10 balls. This after skipper Kohli had hit a quick 38 and Ajinkya Rahane perished for 28, trying to up the ante.
Chasing 359 was never going to be easy and even though the Indian pacers had done well in the first innings, Kohli turned to Ashwin in the second over itself, after Bhuvneshwar Kumar took the new ball to start proceedings.
And the result was there for all to see as Ashwin removed the dangerous Tamim Iqbal (3) in the sixth over, caught by Kohli. Even though umpire Joel Wilson disagreed, Kohli reviewed the decision and it went in India’s favour. With the score on 11, Mominul Haque joined Soumya Sarkar in the middle.
Troubled by the pacers in the first innings, Kohli decided to carry on with a pace and spin attack against Mominul and the move backfired as the two batsmen looked comfortable against the pacers both on the front and backfoot.
Desperate to get a wicket after the duo put on 50 runs for the second wicket, Kohli turned to Jadeja and the left-arm spinner didn’t disappoint, picking up the wicket of Soumya (42) in his second over. With Jadeja inducing the edge of Soumya’s bat, Rahane came up with a brilliant one-handed catch at first slip as Bangladesh’s score read 71/2.
With Jadeja for company, Ashwin too started getting back his mojo and he was quick to send back Mominul (27), again caught by Rahane. Mominul’s nimble front-foot stride got the better of him as the ball pitched, turned and bounced to catch the edge of Mominul’s bat.
After that, it was a clear case of fighting adversity for both Mahmudullah and Shakib for the rest of the day.
With Kohli sniffing blood, it was all about attacking the body as Kohli got in the pacers and asked them to aim at the batsmen. It finally took a bouncer from Umesh to send Taijul (10) packing. Bangladesh’s score read 339/8.
But more importantly, skipper Mushfiqur was still looking for partners to complete his fifth Test ton. And he finally found one in Taskin Ahmed. Unlike Taijul, Taskin was willing to get behind the line of the ball as Mushfiqur looked to up the scoring rate.
Mushfiqur finally reached his 100 with a boundary off Umesh, after being troubled by the bowler right through the innings. With the runs adding up on the board and wickets not falling, Kohli turned to Ashwin again. But this time, Mushfiqur welcomed him with a boundary and a six as the Bangladesh skipper looked to decrease the deficit as much as possible.
It finally took Jadeja to break the partnership. Jadeja used his arm ball to deceive Taskin (8) and induce the edge for Rahane to complete a regulation catch.
Mushfiqur continued to attack and it was only poetic justice that Ashwin picked the final wicket of the innings to not only bring an end to Mushfiqur’s (127) brilliant innings, but also to become the fastest to reach 250 Test wickets.