45 Tests

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - MOST WICK­ETS IN FIRST 45 TESTS

That’s when Soumya Sarkar and Mominul Haque got to­gether to keep the In­di­ans at bay, the tall opener solid in de­fence but ex­cel­lent with his drives be­tween point and cover and the lit­tle No. 3 largely in dead-bat mode. The two stuck it out to­gether for over an hour, but then Jadeja had Sarkar nick­ing one to Ajinkya Ra­hane at first slip, and the star slip­per took a smart one-handed catch low to his right. Sarkar scored 42 in 66 balls with seven fours. One wicket led to an­other, as Mominul fell 13 balls later, Ash­win getting him to edge to Ra­hane with one that turned sharply. Mominul’s 27 took 63 balls and in­cluded three fours.

Mah­mudul­lah, un­der pres­sure af­ter a se­ries of poor out­ings, and Shakib Al Hasan, who had a ver­dict for a catch at for­ward short­leg over­turned on re­view along the way, then took their team to the close of play un­beaten on 9 and 21 re­spec­tively.

Be­fore all that, the In­dian sec­ond in­nings started be­fore lunch for an over but took off in proper earne­stonlyafterthe­break.Havin­gopt­ed­totryand bat Bangladesh out of the match, In­dia had to score fast to leave enough time to bowl the op­po­si­tion.

Task­inAhme­den­suredthes­tart­was­far­fro­mideal, getting both M Vi­jay and KL Rahul to edge short and wide de­liv­er­ies to Rahim be­hind the stumps. See­ing Chetesh­war Pu­jara walk in af­ter that in­stead of one of the quicker scor­ers was sur­pris­ing, but this was a dif­fer­ent Pu­jara, one that went against the grain for the team’s cause. With Kohli, as bel­liger­ent as one would ex­pect, Pu­jara brought his big-hit­ting bat out and mo­tored on at a run-aball or there­abouts. He even hooked Taskin for a six over long-on much to the de­light of his part­ner, whop­umped­h­is­fistsinex­cite­men­tatthe­un­char­ac­ter­is­tic stroke from the usu­ally re­strained Pu­jara.

So it went on, the bats­men find­ing the bound­ary with great fre­quency and the 25,000-strong crowd hav­ing a grand time, till Kohli stepped out and whipped Shakib to Mah­mudul­lah at mid­wicket to walk back for a 40-ball 38. But Ra­hane kept up the good work in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Pu­jara. He was cross-bat­ted at times, was dropped by Shakib off his own bowl­ing when he smacked back a full toss, and sent Me­hedi Hasan soar­ing over mid­wicket for six too be­fore go­ing across the line to Shakib, miss­ing al­to­gether, and los­ing mid­dle stump. The 28in­35balls,though,wasagain­just­whattheteamin-a-hurry needed.

Jadeja then en­sured that the team’s plan, of stretch­ingth­e­lead­past450bytea,wen­ton­sched­ule. A dab to cover first ball off Shakib was fol­lowed by a four over mid­wicket, which Me­hedi re­ally should have caught, and a bru­tal six over long-on. At tea, with Pu­jara on 54 from 58, and Jadeja on 16 from 10, Kohli left it to his bowlers to com­plete the job.

Ear­lier, the ac­tion started in the first over of the day­it­self,whenBhu­vnesh­warKu­mar­got­the­fourth de­liv­ery to tail in beau­ti­fully, cut­ting an arc al­most. It started out­side off stump and moved in late to hit leg,andMe­hedi,whowas­soim­pres­siveinget­tingto his maiden Test half-cen­tury on the third evening, wasn’t good enough to deal with it. He had to walk back, but af­ter hav­ing done him­self proud with 51, his overnight score, in 107 balls with 10 fours.

It wasn’t the be­gin­ning to the day Rahim would have wanted, es­pe­cially with his team still some dis­tance­awayfromthe­fol­low-on­markand­hisown fifth Test cen­tury 19 runs adrift. He got there in the end, but af­ter Tai­jul Is­lam came and went af­ter hopping around against a bar­rage of bounc­ers.

Ravichan­dran Ash­win took to com­plete 250 wick­ets — the quick­est by any bowler. He broke Den­nis Lillee’s record of 48 Tests. Among In­dian bowlers, Anil Kum­ble was the quick­est be­fore Ash­win. He took 55 Tests.

Af­ter a long pe­riod of save-the-Test dour­ness, Bangladesh be­gan to un­ravel, leaving the one-off Test tilted heav­ily in In­dia’s favour


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