In­dia Bury Bangladesh Un­der Mt Vi­rat

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - Shamya Das­gupta

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


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