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No Monday blues, thanks to Kohli

cricket Updated: Jan 12, 2010 01:31 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
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India’s final league-match of the tri-series on Monday panned out pretty much like the one against Sri Lanka one day earlier.

Bowling first, India had Bangladesh reeling at 95 for five. But just as Sri Lanka’s tail wagged late, Bangladesh too frustrated India towards the end and took the score close to the 250 mark.

India though comfortably chased down the total. Virat Kohli continued in the form he is in, hitting a solid, unbeaten 102 to notch up his second one-day hundred. Kohli has come out to bat in worse situations last month at the Eden and in the tri-series here.

Monday’s knock was one of poise. There were exquisite shots through the offside and some lovely flicks. Gautam Gambhir, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina batted around him to see India through to a six-wicket win.

The late afternoon onslaughts that Indian bowlers faced on two consecutive days only shows how easy it gets for the batsmen once the new ball loses shine. There is hardly much turn for spinners and the slow bounce helps batsmen hit through the line. Batting gets easier once the dew starts in the evening and it has made games in the series one-sided. It was no different on Monday too.

Zaheer Khan, rested on Monday after winning the Man-of-the-Match award for his three wickets on Sunday, said conditions in the subcontinent have become even more difficult for bowlers, especially with the introduction of the batting powerplay.

Ashish Nehra, who replaced Zaheer, must have felt the same way. After having the top order batsmen in trouble often, there was little Nehra could do when Dhoni tossed the ball to him at the death. India conceded 95 runs in the last 10 overs despite Bangladesh not having too many wickets in hand.

“The wickets are flat. Once the ball gets old, it stops doing anything. With the teams leaving the batting powerplay for last, it becomes all the more difficult for bowlers,” Zaheer said.

Suraj Randiv and Thilan Thushara had launched into the India bowlers on Sunday. On Monday, it was Mohammad Mahmudullah and Naeem Islam’s turn. After skipper Shakib Al Hasan steadied ship but was dismissed at the beginning of the batting powerplay, the two charged at the Indian bowling. Batting as late as No 7, Mahmudullah is now the third highest scorer of the tournament with 193 runs after Kumar Sangakkara (219) and Kohli (273). India rested Sehwag for this match too. Despite this being an inconsequential match, neither Rohit Sharma nor Ashok Dinda was tested.

B’desh Test squad

Bangladesh on Monday named the squad for the two-Test series against India, beginning in Chittagong on January 17.

Squad: Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mushfiqur Rahim (vice-captain), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Zunaed Siddique, Mohammad Ashraful, Roqibul Hassan, Mohammad Mahmudullah, Shahriar Nafees, Shahadat Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Enamul Haque (Jr.), Mahbubul Alam, Shafiul Islam.