Thanks to counter-attacking fifties by Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer, India managed to secure an 87-run lead over Bangladesh after being bowled out for 314 on day two of the second Test at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur, on Friday.
India were in a precarious position at 94/4 and that’s when Pant and Iyer joined forces for an important 159-run stand for the fifth wicket, which made the difference for India in taking a sizeable lead. Though the duo fell short of their respective centuries, as Pant made 93 off 104 balls and Iyer scored 87 off 105 balls, the efforts from the left-right batting duo on a tough pitch has given the visitors the upper hand at stumps.
For Bangladesh, the left-arm spin duo of Taijul Islam and captain Shakib Al Hasan took four wickets each. But the hosts would see a few chances they created when Pant and Iyer were batting on a tough pitch as missed opportunities, as the duo capitalised on them.
Bangladesh openers Zakir Hasan and Najmul Hossain Shanto did well to negotiate six tricky overs for seven runs before stumps were drawn. A bit of time taken for a bat change (which may or may not have been one) and tying shoelaces, but Bangladesh managed to go unscathed at the stumps. But they have a tough job in front of them on day three.
Earlier, Pant used his wrists, bottom hand and feet superbly to take the attack to the Bangladesh bowlers and put them under pressure while Iyer survived some close shaves early on, but brought out his superb shots against pacers and spinners.
Pant began the final session with a controlled pull through mid-wicket for four off Khaled Ahmed. Iyer got going by lofting Taskin Ahmed over cover and driving Khaled through the left of mid-on for a brace of boundaries.
When Mehidy pitched outside off stump, Iyer punched it right of mid-off for a dazzling four. But Pant fell seven runs short of his century when tried to cut a ball from Mehidy which was close to the body and got a nick behind to keeper Nurul Hasan. It also meant Pant was dismissed in the 90s for the sixth time in Tests.
Axar Patel looked to up the scoring rate but holed out to long-on off Shakib Al Hasan. Shreyas was next to depart for 87, when the ball sneaked past his bat in an attempt to sweep off Shakib and was rapped low on the back pad in front of the off-stump, with India losing a review too.
Shakib reviewed right after the on-field umpire gave Ravichandran Ashwin not out on an lbw decision. But the batter came down the pitch over three metres, and the on-field verdict was unchanged. Three overs later, Shakib has his man by trapping Ashwin lbw after beating him on the inside edge.
Umesh Yadav and Jaydev Unadkat hit four boundaries between themselves before the former’s miscued slog was pouched safely by slip, off Taijul Islam. Mohammad Siraj hit a boundary and was immediately stumped easily off Shakib to bring India’s innings to an end.
Earlier, Taijul, the experienced left-arm spinner, took out India’s top three in the morning session to give the hosts an early edge. He had taken out openers K.L. Rahul and Shubman Gill lbw in quick succession.
The left-arm spinner had his third wicket when Mominul Haque at forward short leg took a sharp catch of Cheteshwar Pujara, sending him back for 24. Post lunch, Bangladesh started well by taking out Virat Kohli quickly. But Pant and Iyer revived the Indian innings with a stunning counter-attack to give India a healthy lead.
Brief scores: Bangladesh 227 & 7/0 in 6 overs (Najmul Hossain Shanto batting 5) trail India 314 in 86.3 overs (Rishabh Pant 93, Shreyas Iyer 87; Taijul Islam 4-74, Shakib Al Hasan 4-79) by 87 runs.