There is a distinct possibility this Test would end in a draw but at least the two sides won’t be accused of slow cricket. With rain playing spoilsport occasionally, urgency was the highlight of the third day’s play. The groundsmen were ready with covers to rush to the ground at a moment’s notice. Umpires and the match referee too were on standby to take quick inspections.
Rain accounted for 50.3 overs on the third day. But it didn’t ruin the day. Bangladesh played their part by being proactive, planning dismissals and not conceding easy runs. India, however, showed most urgency in trying to win the Test with a quick 98 from Ajinkya Rahane. They ended with 223 runs from 47.3 overs on the third day, at a rate a shade under five.
The root cause of this scoring rate was the foundation laid by openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay. Dhawan was looking good for more but lost patience. Vijay however continued leaving or defending the difficult deliveries, waiting for the right time to attack till he chose the wrong ball to sweep. But as long as he stayed, all India’s middle-order had to do was play their natural game.
That was not to be. Rohit Sharma couldn’t have got a better setting to leave his mark at No. 3. There were no fast bowlers going at his throat, the pitch had slowed down considerably and Bangladesh were in spin mode. Nine times out of 10, one would have expected Rohit to dispatch the ball that dismissed him through covers. A good innings here would have vindicated Kohli and Ravi Shastri’s decision to back him ahead of Cheteshwar Pujara but Sharma shot himself in the foot.
How much India would accumulate eventually boiled down to the stand between Rahane and Vijay. And once again Rahane played a stellar innings.
The first thing Rahane did was to curb Shakib Al Hasan’s growing influence by driving him twice for boundaries in the first over from the all-rounder. He took some time against left-armer Taijul Islam and Jubair Hossain’s leg spin but once the new ball was taken by pacer Mohammad Shahid in the 89th over, Rahane started playing more strokes. In the 10 overs after the new ball was taken, Rahane’s score jumped from 35 to 75.
But once Vijay was dismissed, Rahane attacked without discretion. Shakib finally got his revenge against Rahane, who went for a wild pull despite being on 98. Too often in the past, batsmen have indiscriminately wasted overs to trudge through their 90s. But, with this selfless act, Rahane showed he belongs to a different breed — a dependable one.