BANGLADASHED

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

It took its time com­ing, and at var­i­ous points it looked like Bangladesh might pull off the un­think­able, but In­dia’s win­ning run con­tin­ued by one more Test in the end on the fifth af­ter­noon of the one-off Test at Ra­jiv Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium.

Au­gust 15, 2015. Galle. That was when In­dia lost their way from an ex­cel­lent po­si­tion to con­cede the first Test to Sri Lanka. They went on to win the three-Test se­ries and since that loss had gone 18 with­out a de­feat — 14 of them vic­to­ries — be­fore this one. That W-D-L record now stands at 15-40 from 19 Tests. In­dia are the No. 1 Test team in the world by right, af­ter all.

Start­ing the day on 103 for 3 in an im­prob­a­ble chase of 459, the Bangladesh bats­men showed plenty of stom­ach for a scrap, putting in decent pe­ri­ods of re­sis­tance all the way. But it was al­ways go­ing to be a mat­ter of time, a mat­ter of seven good balls. Be­tween them, Ravin­draJadeja,RAsh­winandIshant Sharma bowled those to stop the vis­i­tors on Mon­day at 250 af­ter 100.3 overs of bowl­ing. The re­sult: In­dia vic­tors by 208 runs. Good enough.

The day started with Jadeja do­ing ex­actly what one would ex­pect of him against a left-hand bats­man with some rough avail­able out­side the off­s­tump. Hit­ting the scuff cre­ated by five­fast­bowlersover­four­days,Jadeja got it to spring on Shakib Al Hasan, who­re­al­ly­didn’thaveanop­tion­a­part from fend­ing it to Chetesh­war Pu­jara at for­ward short-leg.

Un­for­tu­nately for In­dia, who didn’t have a legspin op­tion and had carved their way through all the left-han­ders in the Bangladesh top or­der, the rough went out of the equa­tion to a large ex­tent af­ter that. And there was still lit­tle in the pitch, even on the fi­nal day. As a re­sult,Mah­mudul­lah,start­ingthe­day on nine, and Mush­fiqur Rahim went on rel­a­tively un­per­turbed for 15 overs till a mo­men­tary lapse in sense led to Rahim’s down­fall.

Vi­rat Kohli was at his imag­i­na­tive best — swap­ping his bowlers, push­ing in the catch­ers, and even em­ploy­ing three field­ers for the f lick and the fend be­tween short square-leg and short mid­wicket at one stage for Umesh Ya­dav. Maybe he was switch­ing it all around a bit too breath­lessly, not giv­ing his bowlers enough time to work with the fields, but he couldn’t be blamed for not try­ing. None of it worked for a while, though, Rahim even bring­ing out the big pull to send Ishant over the fine-leg bound­ary.

Mah­mudul­lah,un­der­pres­sureafter a se­ries of low scores, chose to play the way he felt was best — leaving what he could, de­fend­ing what he needed to, and send­ing the hit-mes to the fence. He wasn’t un­trou­bled, but looked un­fazed. Ditto with Rahim. En­ter Ash­win, and one won­ders what the plan on a still-un­re­spon­sive pitch was, be­cause Rahim pretty much threw his wicket away. Third ball of the over, Rahim stepped out, con­nected well with the cover-drive and got four. Next ball, he rushed out again. Ash­win, not in a po­si­tion to rely on turn, pulled back the length with a lit­tle dip, and Rahim could only mishit for Jadeja to take a sim­ple catch at cover.

Af­ter that, it was al­ways go­ing to be a mat­ter of time, even though Mah­mudul­lah and Sab­bir Rah­man bed­ded down for the long haul, con­tin­u­ing to play their shots, but only when they were sure they could. Even though crease oc­cu­pa­tion was pri­or­ity, Mah­mudul­lah got to his first Test half-cen­tury since July 2015, when he made 67 against South Africa in the Chit­tagong Test, and Sab­bir also got to 18 by lunch with­out much fuss, Bangladesh adding 99 runs in the ses­sion.Butcru­cially,they­had­lost­thetwo most ex­pe­ri­enced men in their ranks —Shak­ibandRahim—alongth­e­way.

WithAsh­winandJade­jahit­tingex­cel­lent lines and length and Umesh and Ishant pro­vid­ing the oc­ca­sional burst, though,theend­didn’tseem­too­far­away. It ended when Ash­win trapped Taskin Ahmed right in front of the stumps when play for the ses­sion was ex­tended af­ter the fall of the ninth wicket. The umpires weren’t sure and dou­ble-checked, Kohli asked for a re­view any­way, and Taskin was sent on his way, sig­nalling the end of a most in­ter­est­ing Test match.

Team In­dia cel­e­brates Mush­fiqur Rahim’s wicket —AP

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