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Bang on target, Tamim shows way

Before Tuesday, Bangladesh had batted thrice in this Test series. And on all occasions, their top-order had fallen without resistance. But after India declared their innings with a 311-run lead in the second Test, Tamim Iqbal and Junaid Siddique staged a stupendous fightback that could force the visitors to bat again, reports Nilankur Das.

cricket Updated: Jan 26, 2010 23:45 IST
Nilankur Das

Before Tuesday, Bangladesh had batted thrice in this Test series. And on all occasions, their top-order had fallen without resistance. But after India declared their innings with a 311-run lead in the second Test, Tamim Iqbal and Junaid Siddique staged a stupendous fightback that could force the visitors to bat again.

The hosts would need to bat in a similar fashion on Wednesday too to make the match go the distance. And if that happens, India would have only eight fit batsmen in the second innings with Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh out with injuries.

At stumps on Day III, Bangladesh were 228 for three, needing another 83 to avoid an innings defeat. Late strikes by Zaheer Khan, who dismissed both Tamim and Siddique, pegged Bangladesh back again.

Resuming at 459 for five, MS Dhoni batted with the tail to take the total to 544 for eight. India declared at lunch with the fall of Dhoni on 89, adding 67 on Tuesday.

There was some confusion in the India camp about the declaration. During the lunch-break, it appeared that India wanted to continue, but declared as Yuvraj was not in a condition to bat.

The highlight of the day was Tamim’s 151. But the manner in which he got out reflected inexperience. But he and Siddique gave hosts a glimmer of hope.

Opener Imrul Kayes went without a fight. Zaheer hit him with a short one and followed it up with a full delivery. Kayes got into a half-hearted drive and Dinesh Karthik, on as a substitute, took a good catch.

Then, the fight-back started. For the first time, the home team’s top-order clicked. Together, Tamim and Siddique put on a 200-run partnership, the highest ever by the hosts, bettering Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Ashraful’s sixth-wicket stand of 191 against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2007.

Before the start of the Test, Tamim had said his team was no longer in awe of the Indian stars. On Tuesday, he gave Bangladesh a dream start.

With the wicket getting flatter by the day, Bangladesh’s chances of getting Indian wickets to force a result are remote. But if their remaining batsmen can take a leaf out of Tamim's book, it would be good for Bangladesh cricket.

They still have in-form Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad and skipper Shakib Al Hasan. But India would look to make full use of the conditions on Wednesday morning with the ball starting to reverse swing.