Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav added 92 runs for the eighth wicket in a strong lower-order fightback to help India post a competitive 404 in their first innings on day two of the first Test against Bangladesh on Thursday.
After Cheteshwar Pujara top-scored with a gritty 90 and shared stands of 64 and 149 with Rishabh Pant (46) and Shreyas Iyer (86), India’s last four wickets added 126 runs despite Iyer falling early on day two.
While Ashwin made 58, Kuldeep got his highest Test score of 40 as India breached the 400-run mark. Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam was the pick of the Bangladesh bowlers, finishing with 4-133, while off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz took 4-112 even as their fielders shelled various catches during the innings.
Post a lean start to the session, Ashwin danced down the pitch to loft Taijul Islam over mid-on for six and took a single on the very next ball to reach his 13th Test fifty. Kuldeep was timing his sweep and slog-sweep against Taijul as the partnership continued to frustrate Bangladesh.
The 92-run partnership was finally broken when Ashwin danced down the pitch for a maximum against Mehidy Hasan Miraz. But the off-spinner slowed the delivery and got it to go past the outside edge for an easy stumping of Ashwin for 58.
In the next over, Kuldeep was trapped plumb lbw by Taijul, departing for 40. A brace of sixes through powerful slog-sweeps from Umesh Yadav and an uppish drive from Mohammed Siraj over extra cover took India past the 400-mark. Mehidy ended India’s innings at 404 by having Siraj hole out to the fielder in the deep.
Earlier, resuming from 278/6, Ebadot Hossain bowled a barrage of short balls to Iyer, and the tactic almost worked if Litton Das hadn’t made a meal of the catch. With the short ball tactics being used sportingly by Ebadot, Iyer slowed down significantly and looked a bit troubled.
The pacer’s perseverance was rewarded when he clean-bowled Iyer by beating him on the outer edge and took out the off-stump, sending the right-hander back for 86. Ashwin and Kuldeep were solid in running between the wickets while taking a boundary off pacer Khaled Ahmed through the leg side.
Taijul was getting to talk the ball, and even trapped Ashwin lbw with an arm ball. Bangladesh opted for a review, but to their dismay, it came out in favour of the umpire’s call and it meant the on-field decision of not out stayed.
India had more help when a throw from the fielder hit one of the two helmets placed behind the stumps, giving the visitors five penalty runs. Ashwin, who earlier launched Mehidy for a six over long-on, drove Taijul sweetly through extra cover.
Kuldeep, on the other hand, reverse-swept the left-arm spinner over backward point and then swept Mehidy fiercely through the backward square leg to get the morning session in India’s favour.
Brief scores: India 404 in 133.5 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 90, Shreyas Iyer 86; Taijul Islam 4-133, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 4-112) against Bangladesh