India take full control of first Test
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:Chittagong Divisional Stadium, Chittagong
Scorecard:Bangladesh v India
Player:VVS Laxman, G Gambhir, A Mishra
Event:India in Bangladesh 2009/10

DateLine: 20th January 2010


At the close of fourth day's play India found itself in a position of strength from where they can dictate the course of the match. India had set a humongous target of 415 to win for the hosts in 119 overs. At the close of fourth day's play Bangladesh were 67 for the loss of 2 wickets with Tamim Iqbal (23, 56 balls, 3x4) and Ashraful (16, 20 balls, 3x4) were at the crease.


India had resumed the day's play with the overnight pair of Gambhir (116, 129 balls, 10x4, 1x6) and Amit Mishra (50, 70 balls, 6x4) batting positively from the word go. Gambhir's excellent Test form from 2009 spilled into 2010 as he scored his fifth consecutive Test century. In doing so he joined the elite company of Sir Donald Bradman, Jacques Kallis and Mohammad Yousuf. The Delhi southpaw never at any stage looked in any sort of discomfort as he nudged, cut and drove his way to a well-deserved century. Mishra on the other hand surprisingly looked in total command of the situation as he too toiled with the bowling. The pair did not forget the importance of running between the wickets as they ran the Bangladeshi fielders ragged. Mishra soon got his maiden Test fifty and buoyed with that achievement the leg-spinner tried to hit Mahmudullah out over mid-off but only chipped it lamely to Tamim Iqbal. The pair had added 98 runs in 21.4 overs and that gave the visitors the momentum to build on.


Gambhir continued to mix caution with aggression expertly and finally reached his century with a huge hit over long-on of Shakib. The southpaw finally fell when he tried to upper cut a Shafiul Islam delivery only for it to go straight into the palms of Shahriar Nafees at third man. India then lost two quick wickets in the form of Dravid (24, 50 balls, 3x4), who forgot the basics of running between the wickets by plonking his bat in as opposed to sliding it, and Tendulkar (16, 26 balls, 2x4) who was trapped leg before by a much improved Rubel Hossain. The Indian innings derailed for a few overs losing the momentum but the pair of Laxman (69 not out, 89 balls, 5x4) and Yuvraj Singh (25, 32 balls, 3x4) arrested the slide as they added 41 in 9.5 overs before the latter fell.


Dinesh Karthik (27, 42 balls, 4x4) partially atoned for his failure in the first innings as he injected a sense of urgency in the Indian innings with some attractive stroke play before Rubel Hossain snapped up a brilliant catch diving to his left at mid-off. Zaheer Khan (20, 17 balls, 3x4) gave out the Indian intentions by biffing some boundaries before his off stump was up-rooted by an arm ball from Shakib. India finally declared the innings at 413 for the loss 8 wickets thus setting a target of 415 for the hosts.


Bangladesh in reply got jolted in the third over when Imrul Kayes (1, 6 balls) was forced to edge a perfect outswinger from Zaheer Khan through to Karthik. Shahriar Nafees (21, 27 balls, 3x4) meanwhile lived dangerously as he was dropped a couple of times in the slips of Zaheer Khan. Interestingly Laxman was the culprit on both the occasions. Nafees was troubled almost constantly by an improving Ishant Sharma and finally the lanky paceman squared up the southpaw who edged an off-cutter to gully where Sehwag took a smart catch. It was refreshing to see Tamim Iqbal show great application as he put his head down to play a calm knock. He showed admirable temperament as he shelved away his attacking instincts by ducking at accurate bouncers from Zaheer and not replying in an aggressive manner when Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth resorted to vebal barrage. Ashraful too showed sound judgement as he was able to survive the final moments of the day as Bangladesh finished the day at 67 for the loss of two wickets.


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