Zakir Hasan scored a century on debut but Akshar Patel took three wickets as India ended the fourth day of the first Test in Chattogram in Bangladesh’s second innings just four wickets away from victory. Captain Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraj are still at the crease after seeing out 14 overs, with Bangladesh needing 241 on the final day – highly unlikely to be the last recognized batting pair.
Chasing 513 is always an impossible task, but for most of the day, Bangladesh improved their batting considerably, not losing a wicket in the morning session and restricting India’s bowling to just 176 for three. scored runs Tea. At the core of this resistance was an opening partnership of 124 between Zakir and Najmul Hossain Shanto – Bangladesh’s first century opening partnership against India as the pitch became very loose. Shanto was looking solid for his 67 until he walked a drop ball from Umesh Yadav which was caught by Rishabh Pant on the relay after being dropped by Virat Kohli at first slip.
Within four overs the second breakthrough came in the form of Yasir Ali, who tried to defend a good length ball bowled by Patel around the wicket, but it pitched into the middle and went away to take his off-stump. Went. Liton Das was building a promising partnership with Zakir but fell on the stroke of tea, trying to loft Kuldeep Yadav’s googly but failing to clear mid-on. Zakir continued to work well at the other end until he was caught by Ravichandran Ashwin with a dipping off-break in the middle, who took the bat-pad and ballooned to Kohli, who advanced to first slip to catch him. And dived. Bangladesh still had enough batting to contain India but Patel made an unexpected appearance with the second new ball taken in the 85th over.
Abrasive subcontinent pitches are often considered a prerequisite for spinners to do well, but it was the pitch on the fourth day that didn’t offer much turn. And Patel bowls a lot quicker than conventional spinners, which prevents him from looping or dipping too much. But those stump-to-stump lines and the spin he imparts on the ball make it difficult for Patel to play across the line, or for that matter to take shots in advance. Ali was beaten on his front foot trying to defend Patel’s angle to a 50-over-old delivery. Mushfiqur Rahim’s dismissal was almost a replay of the same, only this time he was on the backfoot and the delivery was a bit quicker because of the second new ball.
“The different thing with Axar is that he bowls first,” India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said after the end of the game on Saturday. “It is not easy for a batsman to get out. Also the angle at which he bowls. The way he releases the ball, it is very difficult for the batsman to leave or play it. And especially in conditions where The ball is taking a bit of turn, you have to play those deliveries, that is what is different about him.
But Patel also knows how to woo the drive. Nurul Hasan fell in the same over – a fuller, slightly loopier delivery, darting in for Nurul to try and push, but again it was away for Pant to stump swiftly. If Shakib and Miraj had not done well, Bangladesh could have disintegrated. In the 80th over, when Shakib was hit on the pad, the inside edge looked a little off, but the Bangladesh skipper decided to attack India, hitting Patel for a four and a six in the next two balls.
It was not an easy day of cricket, neither for the bowlers nor for the batsmen. There was little help for the spinners, Umesh got some reverse but was unlucky, especially when Pant was caught by Rahim in the 87th over – it was a day that neither side dominated. India would still have taken it provided they had not chosen to implement the follow-on. The decision inadvertently gave Bangladesh some time to introspect and improve their batting after being bowled out for just 150 in the first innings. Zakir’s hundred and a heartwarming opening stand is the biggest achievement for Bangladesh as India cruise towards victory.