Ravichandran Ashwin cast his web with a five-wicket haul and was duly complemented by Harbhajan Singh, before India settled for a draw against an edgy Bangladesh, in the rain-marred one-off cricket Test, which was interrupted by downpours on all five days. A good day for Indians in the field, but the match meandered to a predictable draw. With more than 250 overs lost during the entire duration of the match, the visitors would feel unlucky that they didn’t even get three full days of cricket, which could have decisively tilted the match in their favour.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s men were superior in all departments and would certainly have a psychological advantage going into the three-match ODI series . In reply to India’s first innings score of 462 for 6, Bangladesh, resuming at 111 for 3 after the opening session, were washed out, faced the ignominy of being shot out for 256 in 65.5 overs — seven runs short of avoiding the follow-on.
While Ashwin, with 5/87 from 25 overs, bamboozled the Bangladeshi batsmen with vicious turn and bounce, Harbhajan (3/64 in 17.5 overs) also justified his inclusion in the side, bowling well in patches, to become the ninth highest Test wicket-taker in the history of the game, surpassing Pakistan legend Wasim Akram.
In fact, Kohli probably wanted to drive home a point by asking Bangladesh to follow-on in what was an inconsequential final hour of play on the fifth day, where only two sessions were possible, due to overnight rain. When play was finally called off, Bangladesh were 23 for no loss in the 15 overs that were bowled in their second innings.
For Bangladesh, Imrul Kayes (72) was the top-scorer, but young debutant Litton Kumar Das played a lovely cameo hitting a quickfire 44 off 45 balls, with eight fours and a six, before being gobbled by Rohit Sharma at backward short leg off Ashwin. Another youngster Soumya Sarkar (37) also showed his attacking prowess, but could not convert his start.
The two sessions on the day were dominated by Ashwin, as he first got Shakib al Hasan (9) when the left-hander tried to cut a delivery which bounced a shade extra and Wriddhiman Saha took a smart catch behind the stumps.
Left-handed Soumya came in and counter-attacked the Indian spin duo as runs came at a fair clip. Soumya pulled Ashwin for a boundary and followed it with a lofted drive over mid-on. Another southpaw Imrul Kayes was also hitting the occasional boundary as the scoreboard kept ticking during their 51-run stand for the fifth wicket. Harbhajan bowled the occasional good delivery but was guilty of bowling a boundary ball in each over early on in his spell, when he was trying to settle down. However the ‘Turbanator’ got his second victim when he removed an in-form Kayes (72), who misjudged the length while charging out.
The veteran offie had shortened the length and the delivery also had turn and bounce which beat the left-handed opener as Wriddhiman got his third victim of the innings with a neat stumping. Kayes became Harbhajan’s 415th Test match wicket as he climbed to ninth place in the all-time highest wicket-takers’ list in the longer version, leaving behind Akram’s 414 scalps from 102 games. In the very next over, Soumya, who had reached a quickfire 37, paid for his indiscretion as he played a lazy shot far away from his body to give Varun Aaron his first victim of the match. But India were in for some surprise, as Litton started taking apart the bowling. He first swept Harbhajan for a boundary and then pulled Varun Aaron over wide mid-on for a second boundary. When Ashwin came back into the attack, Litton lofted him for Bangladesh’s first six and then slog swept him for a boundary.
Umesh Yadav paid for being erratic, as he was first cut and then flicked for a boundary, as he crossed 30 in no time. Shuvagata Hom (9), who was defending dourly at the other end, however, became Ashwin’s fourth scalp as the turn and bounce got the better of him when he lobbed one to Rohit Sharma at backward short-leg with score at 219 for seven, when tea was called. Once Litton got out after tea, a follow-on looked imminent as Harbhajan accounted for Mohammed Shahid and Jubair Hossain was run-out due to some smart work by Wriddhiman, who was brillant behind the stumps.