The Indians needed to pull up their socks and they did.
In the 90 minutes of play in the first session, they had the Bangladesh top order back in the pavilion. But late resistance from Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur Rahim ensured the hosts ended just one run shy of India’s first innings total. For the loss of Virender Sehwag, India were 123 runs ahead at stumps on the third day.
India will need to score quickly and declare at a juncture when they think there’ll be enough time to get Bangladesh out over the remaining two days.
For that, they will have to bat a lot better than they did in the first innings. It will be interesting to see when Sehwag makes the declaration and if no further time is lost due to bad light, the first Test could be headed for a close finish.
India showed purpose in their reply.
They sent in Amit Mishra, after Sehwag’s wicket, both as a pinch hitter and nightwatchman.
The ploy has clicked so far with Mishra going after the bowling and pushing the scoring rate close to 5.5 runs an over.
Gautam Gambhir looked solid for his unbeaten 47 but so did Sehwag before perishing while trying to hit Shakib Al Hasan across the line. The ball went up for Raqibul Hasan to complete an easy catch.
The early morning fog docked an hour off Tuesday’s play before the sun came out strongly. Resuming at 59 for three, Bangladesh were made to struggle.
Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma used the conditions well and forced Muhammad Ashraful and Raqibul to play and miss on a number of occasions.
After V.V.S. Laxman dropped an edge off Ashraful and another fell short, Rahul Dravid caught Ashraful’s third offering to give Ishant his second wicket. The pacer could not add to his kitty but he had most of the Bangladesh batsmen in trouble.
It was as if Shakib came to the wicket with the intent of hitting the pacers out of the attack. But a sharp catch by a fully stretched Sehwag sent him back.
Bangladesh kept losing wickets till Riyad and Rahim stemmed the rot.
Their seventh wicket stand of 108 came in quick time with the former, in particular, being harsh every time he was allowed to free the arms. His was the penultimate wicket to fall when Bangladesh were eight short of the total.