Indian bowlers faced dogged resistance from Bangladesh middle-order led by captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who hit a defiant 81 to take his team to 322 for six at stumps on day three of the one-off Test in Hyderabad on Saturday.
Premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan’s attacking 82 also contributed to Bangladesh’s fightback. At close of play, Rahim was ably supported by Mehedi Hasan Miraz, who was batting solidly batting on 51.
However, the visitors still trail India by 365 runs after the hosts declared at 687 for six on Friday.
Umesh Yadav (2/72 in 18 overs) was India’s best bowler on display but spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin (1/77 in 24 overs) and Ravindra Jadeja (1/60 in 29 overs) didn’t look incisive despite being economical on a track that is still pretty good for batting. Ashwin infact was hit for 12 boundaries.
Ishant Sharma (1/54 in 16 overs) looked more effective with the old ball but he did inflict some pain to Mushfiqur with a snorter that had him in some pain. But the gritty Bangladesh skipper whipped the next for a boundary.
While India still have the upperhand with two full days of play, Bangladesh certainly would have gained confidence as they showed stomach for some fight in the last two sessions of the day after a poor morning.
The young Miraz showed maturity beyond his years to help his captain by playing risk free cricket, only hitting the loose deliveries en route a maiden Test half-century.
Mushfiqur hit 12 boundaries in 206 balls while Miraz hit 10 boundaries in 103 balls. The final session yielded 76 runs in 30 overs.
The seventh wicket partnership between Mushfiqur and Miraz yielded 87 runs in 32.5 overs but more importantly showed that there aren’t too many demons in the pitch.
The best part was their application in the final session. There was a point of time when Mushfiqur had scored only four runs in an hour in the post tea session. He was ready to put his head down and defend and with very less turn on offer, Ashwin never looked menacing.
Bangladesh still need 166 runs to avoid follow-on and on a fresh morning, a few quick wickets can mean that Virat Kohli would like to ensure follow on. But with his bowlers already sending down 104 overs, he might just want to give them rest and pile a few runs in the second innings.
The post lunch session was comparatively better for Bangladesh with 121 runs coming at the loss of two wickets.
But India after getting Shakib and Shabbir Rahman in quick succession, looked in complete control before Mushfiqur and Mehedi resisted.
Shakib, who was instrumental in stemming the first session rot, went on the counter smashing his way to 82 off only 103 balls before his indiscretion landed the visitors in trouble.
Once Shakib was dismissed, the visitors quickly lost another wicket with Shabbir (16) being trapped leg before by Jadeja.
Well set and looking good for a century, Shakib couldn’t properly connect a lofted shot after giving Ashwin the charge with Umesh Yadav gleefully accepting the easiest of catches at mid-on.
His balance was all awry, he didn’t reach to the pitch of the delivery and above all the situation didn’t warrant that shot with 107 runs already being added by him and other senior pro Rahim.
Bangladesh dressing room would have felt good about the session as both the senior players looked comfortable hitting some good shots but Shakib’s dismissal robbed them of claiming a session which could rightfully have been theirs.
Shakib’s shot selection has been a talking point despite his immense abilities as an all-rounder. Some of the imperious cover drives off Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yadav were a treat for the eyes. He also attacked Jadeja slogging him to the cow corner.
He got an able ally in Mushfiqur, who kept the scorecard busy with his ramp shot off Ishant and the dabs off both Jadeja and Ashwin with an occasional cut shot.
Earlier Yadav (2/61 in 15 overs) rattled Bangladesh batsmen with pace while Ishant Sharma got some reverse swing going his way as the visitors were left losing three wickets in the pre-lunch session.
The first session of the third day certainly belonged to Umesh, who worked up good pace for a consistent period of time.
The only batsman who had looked comfortable was Tamim Iqbal (25) and he was unfortunately run-out after a horrible mix-up with Mominul Haque (12). The miscommunication while going for the second run became Tamim’s undoing as he could add only a run to his overnight score.
Mahmudullah Riyadh (28) and Mominul both were distinctly uncomfortable as Virat Kohli always employed the pace-spin attack from both ends.
After Umesh bowled a three overs from the pavilion end (Shivlal Yadav End), Kohli clevery switched him to the far end (VVS Laxman) end from which he bowled another six overs at a stretch.
He continuous troubled both Mominul and Mahmudullah for a considerable period of time with his outswingers. After bowling a number of outswingers, he got one to comeback sharply into Mahmudullah, which trapped him in-front. India went for a DRS but it was an umpires’ call despite the delivery grazing the leg stump.
But Umesh didn’t lose heart and left-hander Mominul got a fuller delivery that came in after pitching. The umpire promptly adjudged leg before and the batsman didn’t even take a review.
It was a testimony to Umesh’s stamina that his pace never dropped during the nine overs that he bowled in the morning.
Mahmudullah and Shakib then added 45 runs during which they played a few drives and also got their share of streaky boundaries in between.
But right-hander Mahmudullah was never in control during his stay. Once Kohli decided to rest Umesh and Jadeja, he introduced Ishant and Ashwin from either ends.
With the ‘SG Test’ now being 30 plus overs old and the team having maintained the shine, it was time for the lanky Ishant to get it to reverse and hit that length close to full which makes life difficult for the batsman.
Mahmudullah, who looked like a walking wicket, got one that darted in sharply with hint of reverse as Mahmudullah was beaten. The umpire adjudged the batsman leg before and he went for a review which didn’t work in his favour.
India however lost their second DRS when Ashwin had got one to straighten enough beating Shakib’s bat but it was ruled not out.