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Dhoni, Kohli lead India to a six-wicket win

Mahendra Singh Dhoni led from the front with a crafty unbeaten 101 as India recovered from early jolt to register comprehensive six-wicket win over Bangladesh in the third match of the cricket tri-series in Mirpur, reports Nilankur Das. See scorecard

cricket Updated: Jan 08, 2010 01:21 IST
Nilankur Das

Whatever scepticism the India camp might have had, going into Thursday's tri-series match at the Sher-e Bangla National Stadium here, was put to rest by Bangladesh.

After so much talk of the dew going against bowlers in the second session and the results of the first two matches emphasising that point, skipper Shakib Al Hasan chose to bat.

Shakib had complained how difficult it was to bowl second in these conditions after losing to Sri Lanka in the opener. So the only logic justifying the decision could be that the hosts were wary of putting India in and staring at a huge target themselves. Even then, the ploy seemed a touch too defensive, especially at home.

Shakib's pressure tactics didn't work in the end even though a lot of things initially went Bangladesh's way. The hosts got off to a great start, managed to put up a decent total and made early inroads into the India batting line-up. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh went with very little on board.

But all that changed after Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni steadied the innings and then toyed with the Bangladesh attack. When Kohli was sent back, nine shy of his second ODI ton, India still needed another partnership. Suresh Raina provided that and with the skipper completing his seventh one-day hundred, India won by six wickets. Bangladesh got off to a flyer with some lusty hitting by Tamim Iqbal. The openers gave them a platform to set a big target. But then, Bangladesh started losing their way in the middle till Mahmudullha Riyad's late charge took them to their highest total against India and against any Test-playing nation.

Getting off to a sedate start, Mahmudullha and Naeem Islam launched into the attack mode in the batting powerplay Bangladesh took in the innings' last five overs. They added 54 runs without losing a wicket.

India's bowling in the death still left a lot to be desired. They bowled quite a few loose balls towards the end of the innings during the Sri Lanka series at home. On Thursday too, with the batsmen going hammer and tongs, India were affected by the inability to bowl accurate yorkers.

Timings changed

Keeping the dew in mind, matches in the series beginning with Friday's tie between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will start 30 minutes early. The initial request was about starting the match one-and-a half hours early but that could not be done. The hosts are staring at an early exit and have to win to keep chances alive.