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Bangladesh face uphill task

On Thursday, Bangladesh will have to score more than 400 runs in around 125 overs to cause one of the biggest upsets in Test history. India need eight more wickets to save the blushes, provided the fog does not play spoilsport, reports Nilankur Das.

cricket Updated: Jan 21, 2010 09:13 IST
Nilankur Das

Only five times have Bangladesh scored over 400 runs in an innings, and just once batting fourth. That was against Sri Lanka in Dhaka a couple of years back when they were set a chase of 521.

Bangladesh had lost that match after scoring 413. On Thursday, they will have to score two more than that in around 125 overs to cause one of the biggest upsets in Test history. India need eight more wickets to save the blushes, provided the fog does not play spoilsport.

At the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Wednesday, Bangladesh were 67 for two with Tamim Iqbal unbeaten on 23 and Mohammad Ashraful on 16.

Much will depend on Ashraful, who incidentally had scored a century in that chase and in the past has shown a knack of scoring on the big stage. But an average of around 23 — which is poor for a top-order batsman — only reflects his inconsistency.

After a batting debacle in the first innings, the bowlers have pulled India back into the match and there was very little to separate between the two teams before India batted again.

Courtesy Gautam Gambhir’s ninth Test hundred and Amit Mishra's maiden Test fifty, India were able to declare their innings an hour after tea on the fourth day of the first Test. Now, it's again back to the bowlers to deliver.

The hosts looked to have taken up the challenge, albeit dangerously. Back from ICL, Shahriar Nafees, coming at No. 3, threw his bat at everything, short or wide. Tamim, who hails from this part of the country, looked a lot more poised after Zaheer Khan forced a thin edge to dismiss Imrul Kayes even before the chase looked like taking shape.

Nafees too did not last long even after being dropped twice by VVS Laxman, who left the field injured, at slips. Ishant Sharma squared him up and the edge was taken low down by Virender Sehwag at gully.

Laxman needed 10 stitches and will require at least three days to recover. That makes him doubtful for the second Test, beginning in Dhaka on Sunday.

Bangladesh could not get 20 Indian wickets. That’s just for the records. Actually for the

second time in the match, their bowlers showed discipline and intensity to almost get through the formidable Indian batting line-up.

When stand-in skipper Sehwag made the declaration, India were 413 for eight with V.V.S. Laxman on 69 and Ishant Sharma on 7.

Gambhir nudged, pushed and cut his way to his fifth ton in five Tests and Mishra, sent in with a dual role of pinch hitter and night-watchman on Tuesday, flourished in his company in the 98-run stand.

He kept going over the top of the infield every time skipper Shakib Al Hasan tried to

put pressure on him by drawing the field in. After both were caught in the outfield trying to force the pace, India failed to put up another substantial stand.

Sachin Tendulkar fell leg-before to an incoming delivery, something that had bothered him during the one-day series against Sri Lanka late last year. Rahul Dravid did not ground his bat and was run out. Yuvraj Singh went into a drive a touch early and was caught. And wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik was spectacularly caught at mid-off just as he was trying to break the shackles.