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A win in pocket, but worries remain

India’s 113-run win in the first Test was emphatic. But then Bangladesh had their moments too. Their bowlers have had Indian batsmen hopping around and did not let them score as freely they would have wanted to, reports Nilankur Das.

cricket Updated: Jan 23, 2010 00:03 IST
Nilankur Das

India’s 113-run win in the first Test was emphatic. But then Bangladesh had their moments too.

Their bowlers have had Indian batsmen hopping around and did not let them score as freely they would have wanted to. Though it was not enough to not give the world’s top Test team sleepless nights, going into a tough home series against South Africa soon after the second Test here, Mahendra Singh Dhoni would want his boys to be at the top of their game.

A batting debacle in the first innings of the first Test was an early wake up call, but even in the second innings India failed to get the partnerships going. A crucial century by Sachin Tendulkar in the first essay and a ton by Gautam Gambhir in the second helped India to the desired result.

Yuvraj Singh’s form, however, will be a point of concern for India. The left-hander failed to get runs in Chittagong and looked particularly uncomfortable against short-pitched stuff. Rubel Hossain had Yuvraj pushing awkwardly at short deliveries and once hit him on the back of his helmet. This was just after the Bangladesh quickie had sent Tendulkar back with one that came in.

Yuvraj’s last Test century came in December 2007, in Bangalore against Pakistan. He was not a Test regular then primarily because of a solid middle order boasting of Rahul Dravid, Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman. Since Ganguly’s retirement, he has become a permanent member in the side, but not much has come off his bat.

He looked out of touch in the tri-series here after coming back from a finger injury, Fielding, his forte, hasn’t been sturdy either. Even on Thursday he dropped a skier from Safiul Islam at mid-off much to the surprise of stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag. He stood staring at Yuvraj with hands on his hips even as Amit Mishra was getting ready to bowl.

Another worry would be Sreesanth’s form and fitness. The paceman strained his hamstring while bowling on Thursday and had an MRI scan done here on Friday.

He remains doubtful for the second Test in Mirpur, which begins on Sunday, but India would want him fit for the South Africa series.

Even as Ishant Sharma, who was included in the XI only after Harbhajan Singh was ruled out due to a stiff neck, was roaring back to form, Sreesanth was to losing his.

Trying too many variations and slower balls, he was given some harsh treatment by the Bangladesh batsmen.

Laxman, meanwhile, will continue to stay with the team despite suffering from a finger injury.