Captain Virat Kolhli hit a solid ton, and put up a huge partnership with Ajinkya Rahane to help India to a six-wicket win in the second match of the Asia Cup at Fatullah, Bangladesh, on Wednesday.
The 19th century (136 off 122 balls) of India's stand-in skipper oozed class and confidence as he hooked, pulled and cover drove away to glory. Giving him company was the brilliant Rahane (73 off 83 balls). They put on a solid partnership of 213.
Openers Shikhar Dhawan (28) and Rohit Sharma (21) had started slow and cautious. The second and third overs were maidens. But then Dhawan broke free, hitting the hapless Bangladesh bowlers all over the park. He hit five boundaries as he raced to his 28.
But then he tried to sweep left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, missed the line of the ball and was rapped on the pads in front of the wicket.
The very next over, Rohit left, bowled by pacer Ziaur Rahman. The ball was a touch short, but jagged back and snuck in between the bat and pad.
Kohli showed every bit of class that he has become famous for, lending stability to the chase. He fell with India 13 runs shy of victory. Rubel Hossain's yorker beat the bottom of his bat, which came down a bit slow, to ruffle his stumps.
Rahane too couldn't stay till the end. His lofted shot found the fielder at long on.
In the first innings, a brilliant century from Mushfiqur Rahim took Bangladesh to a competitive 279 for seven.
Mohammed Shami provided India the early breakthrough. His surprise short ball had the desired effect on opener Shamsur Rahman, who got a thick leading edge that went straight up. But India's basics still looked shaky, with Shami and Ambati Rayudu colliding. Both went for the catch, Shami pouched it.
In his first ball of the match, Ashwin struck, removing Mominul Haque. Haque got an inside edge as he tried to work a flighted delivery to the onside. The ball rolled backwards towards 'keeper Dinesh Karthik. A clueless Haque moved forward, allowing Karthik to whip the bails off.
But then, toothless bowling and yet another poor outing in the field allowed Mushfiqur and Anamul to get their team out of trouble. The 133-run third wicket stand between Mushfiqur (117) and Anamul (77) steadied Bangladesh.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli's frustration was quite evident when in a Varun Aaron over he fielded the ball at mid-off, discouraging a run, but then threw it belatedly at the non striker's end, giving up two unnecessary runs.
Aaron managed to get rid of Anamul with a full delivery outside off, which the batsman chopped on to his stumps. But he also earned the dubious honour of conceding the second highest runs to Bangladesh, giving away 74 in 7.5 overs. Bangladesh had tonked UAE's Khurram Khan for 78.
Moreover, Aaron had to be taken off after he bowled a second beamer in the innings after being hit for a massive six by Mushfiqur.
Shami led India's fightback, claiming Naeem Islam for 14. Islam was trying to clear the circle, but ended up driving it straight to Ashwin at extra cover.
In his next over, Shami took care of Nasir Hossain. A slower delivery saw Hossain slash at it, sending a thick edge to Karthik.
Ziaur Rahman, the next batsman, played some lusty shots, racing away to 18 and keeping the momentum going for Bangladesh. But a brilliant diving catch from Aaron off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's bowling saw his back in the penultimate over.
Shami finally got rid of Mushfiqur in the last over. The Bangladesh batsman slashed at a waist high full toss, giving a catch in the deep. The umpires were unsure of the height, but the third umpire ruled out a beamer, ending the diminutive batsman's sparkling innings.
Earlier, Kohli won the toss and sent Bangladesh in to bat. The home team were without injured opener Tamim Iqbal and premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who is serving a three-match ban on disciplinay grounds. Shakib will also miss his team's second match against Afghanistan on Saturday.
On Tuesday, Sri Lanka had defeated defending champions Pakistan by 12 runs in the tournament opener.?
India take on Sri Lanka on Friday.
Commentary, India Innings:
Commentary, Bangladesh Innings: