Shhhh...! Shahadat, Shakib silence Sehwag | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Shhhh...! Shahadat, Shakib silence Sehwag

India’s very strong batting line-up did not look so strong on the first day of the first Test against Bangladesh at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Sunday, reports Nilankur Das.

cricket Updated: Jan 17, 2010 23:32 IST
Nilankur Das

India’s very strong batting line-up did not look so strong on the first day of the first Test against Bangladesh at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Sunday. Put into bat in overcast conditions, India started losing wickets after lunch, surprisingly when the sun had begun to peek through the fog. At stumps, they were 215 for 8.

Stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag and Dinesh Karthik were restless. Gautam Gambhir was greedy. Rahul Dravid looked rusty. V.V.S. Laxman was unlucky. Yuvraj Singh was casual. That tells the story of the Indian batting which appeared ordinary against some average bowling. The wicket, keeping low at times, just did enough to keep the players guessing.

After all the verbal volleys by Sehwag — calling Bangladesh an ‘ordinary’ side — India, playing their first Test since assuming the top position, have gifted the initiative to the hosts. Sachin Tendulkar kept fighting a lone battle. Unbeaten on 76 at stumps, he looked determined for his 44th Test ton, but getting there would require the last two, Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth, to hang in there. The two will then have to reappear with Zaheer Khan to win back lost ground on Monday.

Play started one-and-a-half hours late due to bad light and just before the umpires went in for the first inspection, news trickled in that Harbhajan Singh was out due to a stiff neck. India had lost skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday evening due to a back spasm.

But who could have expected an Indian collapse? In the hour of play possible before lunch, Sehwag and Gambhir were scoring at around five runs an over. The bowling hardly looked threatening, some of the shots did. Shahadat Hossain was so erratic in the second over of the day, that skipper Shakib Al Hasan immediately replaced him with Rubel Hossian.

Shahadat didn’t look a changed bowler post lunch, but his luck changed. After Shakib had Sehwag caught at extra-cover, Gambhir chased one from Shahadat that was way short and wide.

Shahadat almost had Tendulkar when he skied one that no one really went for. Shakib bowled 26 overs on the trot after bringing himself on as early as in the 12th over. The dampness in the wicket helped the ball to grip but things became easier for the batsmen later in the day. Even then, Shakib had every Indian batsmen under check and in two minds with some well-disguised arm balls.