Cricket

Indian bowlers put the team in the driver’s seat

Deceived: Mahmudullah’s attempted heave off R. Ashwin proved fatal.

Deceived: Mahmudullah’s attempted heave off R. Ashwin proved fatal.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

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Bangaladesh’s decision to bat first backfires; Shami, Ishant, Umesh and Ashwin do the damage

Mohammed Shami was stunning with his trademark seam position. Ishant Sharma was inspiring up front. Umesh Yadav was unstoppable with his fierce pace. And R. Ashwin was exceptional, as always.

No wonder then that Bangladesh’s brave decision to bat first on a hard deck boomeranged as India took firm control of the opening day of the first Test.

With the pace triumvirate and the lead off-spinner in prime form, Ravindra Jadeja’s accurate left-arm spin was hardly required as India bundled Bangladesh out for 150 in little over two sessions at the Holkar Stadium.

Rohit goes early

Despite losing Rohit Sharma early, Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara’s unbroken 72-run partnership steadied the ship as India reached 86 for one at stumps.

With more faith in its batting order than an experienced bowling unit, Bangladesh chose to bat after Virat Kohli lost a rare toss. But with Ishant and Umesh on the ball right from the word go, the left-handed openers Shadman Islam and Imrul Kayes struggled to put bat on the ball.

A breakthrough was inevitable all through the opening spell and the relentless pressure from the pace duo finally paid off with Kayes offering Ajinkya Rahane a regulation catch in the cordon off Umesh.

Six balls later, Ishant snared Shadman, with a fuller one that took the edge to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. Mohammad Mithun looked shaky right through his short stint before being trapped in front by Shami.

Useful partnership

It was followed by Bangladesh’s only positive session of the day, with captain Mominul Haque and the experienced Mushfiqur Rahim coming up with a 68-run partnership. Both had their share of luck, with Mushfiqur seeing catches being dropped in the cordon, but the duo did give a glimpse of their skills.

The tiny Mushfiqur, immediately after surviving a second chance in the slips, danced down the wicket to send Ashwin into the sight-screen and followed it up with a delightful square cut off the next ball.

However, Ashwin finally broke the partnership when the Bangladesh captain shouldered arms to a delivery that held its line.

Shami then bowled a fiery spell to rattle the Bangladesh lower order. He used the crease well to jag one back in to Mushfiqur and knock down his stumps and then trapped Mehidy Hasan with a fuller one the next ball to leave Bangladesh reeling at 140 for seven at tea and Shami’s wait for a hat-trick was prolonged, though he didn’t get it.

Ishant started the last session by scalping Liton Das off the first ball. Jadeja then made his only notable contribution of the day with a throw on target from the boundary line to send back Taijul Islam. Umesh then wound the innings up with a full ball shaping away that was too good for last man Ebadat Hossain.

Despite India picking up the last five wickets for just 11 runs, the innings could well have been even shorter had India held on to it catches.

Regulation catches

Captain Kohli gave Rahim a reprieve at third slip off Ashwin before Rahane grassed three catches at first slip off Ashwin. While the first of the three, a cut by lefty Mominul was a difficult chance, the other two — one each off Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah — were regulation catches by Rahane’s high standards.

Even Bangladesh took a cue from it as Kayes dropped a sitter at first slip off Abu Jayed when Mayank was on 32. While none of the Bangladesh batsmen could capitalise on the chances, Mayank would be hoping to seal the fate of the game with yet another big first-innings hundred.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 3:39:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/indian-bowlers-put-the-team-in-the-drivers-seat/article29975372.ece

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