India buried Bangladesh under a mountain of runs on the third day of the first Test at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium here, helping the hosts chase down 513 – 95 more than the existing world record for victory.
On Friday morning, after Bangladesh’s tail had added only 17 runs to its overnight score, KL Rahul chose not to enforce the follow-on and build on a 254-run first innings lead.
Although he fell for another score in his 20s (23, 62b, 3×4), Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara made full use of the opportunity.
Gill scored his first Test century (110, 152b, 10×4, 3×6) after four fifties, while Pujara scored his 19th and fastest ever century (102n, 130b, 13×4), his first in almost four years. Century, as India scored 258 runs. Lasts from around 62 overs. Bangladesh were 42 for no loss at stumps.
There could be many reasons why India batted again and batted for so long. Perhaps to give their stroke makers more time against Bangladesh’s spinners ahead of the Dhaka Test and also to save more of its players from joining the injured list.
Or it would be a simple matter of just going for sure kills like a skilled volleyer on a tennis court. It is debatable whether he was needed to insure a target of more than 500. Bangladesh’s highest successful chase is 217, against the West Indies in 2009.
But Gill and Pujara had fun. Each of his innings had two contrasting phases; It all boils slowly at first before erupting like a volcano. Gill and Rahul managed just 36 runs in the first 15 overs, nudging and steering much of the wicket. But Gill soon changed gears, scoring quick boundaries with his trademark half-cut, half-punch stand-out shot.
Bangladesh used short-ball tactics, and Khalid Ahmed pulled Rahul straight to Taijul Islam in the fine-leg region. Gill, however, would not be consumed by the trick. At times, there were more than seven men deployed on the leg-side, but he did not get distracted. A six over deep backward square-leg decided the winner in that battle.
Pujara, seemed infatuated with his partner’s rate of runs, pulling and sweeping the bowlers effectively, and came out to play his classic whipped shots, where the bat in hand plowed the earth near the crease. Threatens to turn.
With no breakthrough, skipper Shakib Al Hasan – who did not bowl for the second day in a row with a rib injury – brought in part-time off-spinner Liton Das to wave the white flag.
Gill would have none of it and greeted him with a six over long on. A fine reverse sweep off Mehidy Hasan took him to 99 before he reached the three-figure mark with a bounced four over long-on.
Pujara was scoring 41 runs in 81 balls at that time. 61 runs came from the 34-year-old’s next 49 balls. The ethereal patient hoarder had turned into an adventurer.