After India’s win in the 1st Test at Chittagong, the action moves on to Mirpur at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium where the much anticipated 2nd Test is going to be played. The hosts would be looking forward to win this test to level the series while India would want to maintain their World No.1 ranking by taking the series 2-0.
On the first day, Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bat first on a sporting wicket as well as under extreme sunshine, unlike Chittagong where conditions were extremely murky. So, Bangladesh had the opportunity to hit back hard on the Indians and exploit the conditions.
On the other hand, India will be boosted with the return of MS Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh from injuries. However, a big setback for India is that Laxman won’t be playing after he sustained an injury on his left hand during the first test. Sreesanth too has flown back home due to a thigh strain.
However, the momentum was surely on India’s side when Ishant Sharma continued his good form by getting opener Imrul Kayes out first ball. The following over saw Zaheer Khan pick Tamim Iqbal who went without scoring too, after a near to unplayable in-winger from the left-arm fast bowler. And soon later, Junaid Siddique who replaced Shahriar Nafees in this match, also lost his wicket to Zaheer and the score was pathetic, 13/3! In came Mohd.
Ashraful, who had been criticized prior to this Test for his poor form. He was under a lot of pressure, but took charge and went after the Indian bowling. In between, Raqibul Hasan’s poor form continued as he gave Ishant his second wicket and Dravid taking an easy catch of a lazy drive on the off-side.
In the process, Bangladesh were four down. And worse, Ashraful too lost his patience and looked to play yet another aggressive but risky shot, as a result getting stumped off the bowling of off-spinner Pragyan Ojha, smashing 39 runs off just 31 balls. As the Bangladeshi skipper Shakib-al-Hasan and wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim were batting, lunch was called with Bangladesh in dire straits at 84/5.
After lunch, to a certain extent, Shakib and Rahim resurrected Bangladesh with a vital 50-run partnership until Ishant Sharma bowled a ripper of a ball, in-swinging to get Rahim lbw for a solid 30. Ishant got his third wicket and was on fire when all-rounder Mahmudullah entered the crease.
He batted remarkably well even as Shakib got out playing a rash shot of Zaheer Khan’s bowling. At 127/7, Mahmudullah had to bat out of his skin to assure Bangladesh reaching a competitive total. And to a certain extent, he did help his team do extremely well as he remained unbeaten on 96, just 4 short of a maiden test hundred.
Some resistance from the low order helped Bangladesh reach 233, with Ishant, the star for the Indians, picking up as many as 4 wickets. Still, it was India who had the upper hand due to no time constraints for the Indians for batting and weather too wasn’t expected to be a problem.
As Gambhir and Sehwag walked out, the tension could be cut with a knife. Can India this time around tear apart the Bangladeshi bowling? The batting wasn’t so convincing at Chittagong, so Bangladesh were in with a chance if they get early wickets. However, at stumps on the first day, India were 69/0 in just 12.5 overs with Sehwag in a usual attacking mode.
The start was ideal as Gambhir played well enough to stay in the hunt for bringing up his 6th century in 6 Tests. The man who has averaged close to 77 since 2008 was determined enough to get to Sir Donald Bradman’s record, even as Sehwag was given out of a good delivery by Shahadat Hossain, who ripped apart the Indian batting line up in the first test.
However, Gambhir was undone by a short delivery from the 2-Test old Shaiful Islam, and was caught by wicket-keeper Rahim for 69. Sehwag too got out in similar fashion, thus both the openers were back in the pavilion. Unfortunately, Gambhir missed out on a record hundred, yet added another half-century to his impressive tally of runs in the last two years.
The score was 130/2 when Tendulkar arrived at the crease. And thus came the marathon partnership. Both the batsmen have nearly 25000 runs between each other in test cricket and are the bulwarks of Indian cricket as they have carried the team forward to some famous victories. And today, was yet another day when the two put up a huge 222-run partnership, battering Bangladesh completely.
The Bangladesh attack, for the first time in the series looked toothless as well as hopeless. Dravid, returning to his best scored a cracking nelson, i.e., 111 before he went retired hurt after being hit on his jaw by a short Shaiful Islam delivery. Whereas Sachin Tendulkar registered his second century of the series with an exceptional 143, before some clever bowling on the leg-stump by the Bangladeshi skipper sent him packing.
But when will Tendulkar’s hunger for runs and making records come to an end? He scored his 45th century which was the highlight of the day as he has now gone 6 ahead of Ponting. Surprisingly, he also surpassed Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene by scoring 5 centuries against Bangladesh in test cricket, whereas Jayawardene has scored 4.
Coming back to the match, Dravid’s injury helped Bangladesh to fight their way back into the game as they were able to dismiss a well-set Murali Vijay for just 30. Vijay replaced Laxman for this game and clearly at that stage, Laxman’s experience could have helped. Especially when its known that Laxman and Tendulkar put up big partnerships more often than not. Bangladesh could celebrate with the wicket of Harbhajan Singh on the last ball of the day by the skipper yet again, leaving Dhoni stranded at 22.
Day 3 is expected to be a thriller as Bangladesh cannot breathe easy due to the possibility of Yuvraj Singh joining the Indian captain at the crease. Rahul Dravid too, could come out to bat. What would be interesting at this stage is the timing of Dhoni’s declaration which could give India’s bowlers ample of time to bowl out the Bangladeshis and win comprehensively 2-0. So, its clearly India whos on the drivers seat in the game.
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