India Bury Bangladesh Under Mt Virat
For a long time, there was the feeling that Virat Kohli can’t play big innings, bat long, score daddy hundreds. In a sense, he still doesn’t bat long; he scores his runs so quickly after all. But batting big — he has been doing it almost as a rule in the recent past.
On Friday, the second day of the one-off Test against Bangladesh in Hyderabad, Kohli got to his fourth double-century, an innings of 204, in just under five hours over two days and off only 246 balls. All his four doubles have come since he took over as captain, all since July 2016. The latest also made him the first to score doublecenturies in four consecutive series.
What that innings, along with Ajinkya Rahane’s 82 and Wriddhiman Saha’s enterprising 106 not out later in the day, did was put India inapositionfromwhichatleastoneresultshould be ruled out. They called it off on 687 for 6, having added 331 on the day, soon after Saha’s century. And the breakthrough they had hoped for in the time left — enough for 14 overs — materialised lateinthescriptwhenSoumyaSarkarfeathered an inside edge off Umesh Yadav for Saha to take a smart catch diving to his right. Sarkar scored 15. Tamim Iqbal, the other opener, looked good in making an unbeaten 24 as the day closed with Bangladesh on 41 for 1, 646 in arrears, with Mominul Haque the other man in the middle.
Resuming on 111, Kohli charged along as thoughtherehadn’tbeenagapbetweenthefirst evening and the second morning. In the fifth over of the day came the shot that summed it all upinaway.TaskinAhmedover-pitched,andall it took for the ball to rocket to the long-on fence was a little cocking of the wrist and bat-speed to make a scientist sit up and take note. The bat – much like with Sachin Tendulkar’s straight drive – had hardly any follow through after hitting leather, but the damage was done. All class, intent and sword straight – that was Kohli.
It was his finest on the day, but hardly the only one to gape at. There were pulls and cuts, and drives and dabs, off pacers and spinners alike. The Bangladeshis felt the heat and wilted, but they could be excused – teams with more pedigree than them have felt no different when faced against the might of Kohli of late. He ended on 204 when he looked good for many more, but he had more than done his job by then.
It started to go wrong quite early in the day for Bangladesh after they had started all right with Taskin Ahmed and Shakib Al Hasan. Kohli found the fence, to the left and then the right of point, in the third over, off Taskin, and after that, Rahane and he found at least a boundary, often two, in almost each over. And the scoreboard ticked over at frenetic pace. A total of 70 runs came in the first hour, and though it slowed down a bit after that, 51 more were scoredinthesecondhourasIndiawenttolunch on 477 for 4, having lost Rahane along the way.
Bangladesh did pull things back a tad, and it coincided with the pitch starting to turn. Mehedi Hasan was the one to start things off, troubling Kohli and Rahane on occasion. He didn’t get lucky, but it was the 19 year old who finally provided the breakthrough, taking an excellent diving catch to his left at short cover off anuppishdrivefromRahanewhenthedelivery from Taijul Islam stopped on the batsman a bit.
Rahane looked very good while he lasted, starting slowly on the first day but then getting into his groove to play some nice strokes all around the wicket, even going agricultural once when Shakib threw him a full toss. More importantly, he gave a good account of himself after having returned from injury and keeping Karun Nair, the triple centurion from India’s last Test, out of the playing XI. The 82 he got came from 133 balls and spanned 200 minutes, and the 11 hits to the boundary went a long way in building the 222run stand with Kohli, the aggressor all along.
Mehedi, who had fluffed the easiest of runout opportunities on Day 1, grabbed the halfchance that came his way, but earlier in the day, Sabbir Rahman didn’t, failing to latch on to a tough one at squarish third man to an uncontrolledcutRahaneplayedoffKamrulIslam Rabbi. And it got worse later. Mehedi had just had an appeal overturned on review against Kohli, when the batsman was on 180, and then Taijul got the ball to turn past Saha’s bat with the batsman well out of the crease. MEHEDI HASAN MIRAZ