Mirpur Test: Pacers put India in command

Mahmudullah Riad's grit was not enough as India skittled out Bangladesh for a modest total and then got off to a flying start to take early control.

updated: January 24, 2010 16:46 IST
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Mahmudullah Riad's grit was not enough as India skittled out Bangladesh for a modest total and then got off to a flying start to take early control of the second and final cricket Test.

The opening day belonged to India as Ishant Sharma (4/66) and Zaheer Khan (3/62) decimated the Bangladesh top and middle order to reduce the hosts to 127 for seven.

Batting at number eight, Mahmudullah, however, refused to throw in the towel and showed exemplary grit, even though he was stranded four runs away from his maiden Test century as his side folded for 233.

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Mahmudullah's was a sterling 156-ball knock studded with 13 fours. The last two wickets produced 78 crucial runs that lent some respectability to the home side's total.

In reply, India milked 69 runs off the 13 overs they faced with Virender Sehwag (41 off 40 balls) and Gautam Gambhir (26 off 38 balls) scoring at a brisk rate while staying put at stumps.

India would return tomorrow to first wipe out the 164 run deficit and then push for a big total to bat the hosts out of the match and complete a 2-0 rout in the series.

For the home side, Mahmadullah was the star of the day. Coming at the wicket when his side was at a precarious 106 for six, Mahmadullah, who scored 69 and 20 in the first Test in Chittagong, stitched two important partnerhips with the tailenders - 58 with Shafiul Islam (9) for the ninth wicket and 20 for the last wicket with Rubel Hossain (4) -- to frustrate the Indian bowlers for nearly three hours.

His side in dire straits, Mahmadullah waited for loose balls to punish the Indian bowlers with some delightful shots on either side of the wicket.

For India, Ishant and Zaheer shared seven wickets between them while left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who came in for Amit Mishra in the match, chipped in with two wickets while Harbhajn Singh, who returned to the side after missing the first Test due to a stiff neck, got one.

Bangladesh were tottering at 51 for five inside the first hour play today with most of their batsmen on self-destructive mode though the Indian bowlers were also impressive as they bowled a tight line and length under helpful conditions on the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium pitch.

Captain Shakib Al Hasan (34), opener Tamim Iqbal (0) and Ashraful (39) were out to rank bad shots and it was left to Mahmadullah to give a semblance of a fight which he did admirably well.

Shakib chose to bat after winning the toss but his decision boomeranged as his side lost three quick wickets for 13 runs inside the fifth over and their top half returned to the hut inside the first hour.

The top-order batsmen did not make even a semblance of a fight as all of them looked like in a hurry to play shots though opener Imrul Kayes (0) was a tad unlucky to be given out by New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden.

Ishant's first ball apparently kissed Kayes' bat before nestling into Mahendra Singh Dhoni's gloves but television replays suggested that the ball had kissed the thigh pads. Zaheer removed Tamim Iqbal eight balls later for an eight-ball duck with the angling delivery. Another wicket in the form of Junaid Siddique (8) fell in Zaheer's next over as the hosts found themselves in a hole.

At the stroke of first hour, Roqibul Hasan (4) joined the procession to the pavilion, caught by Dravid at second slip off Ishant.

Out-of-form Ashraful looked aggressive today but he fell to Ojha when Bangladesh needed a big innings from him.

Ishant returned after lunch to trap first Test centurion Mushfiqur Rahim (30) after the batsman had added 55 runs with Shakib.

Shakib himself let down the side, perishing to an irresponsible shot off a wide Zaheer delivery.

Shahadat Hossain gave company to last recognised batsman Mahmadullah for 18 minutes before he was brilliantly stumped by Dhoni for eight.

Bangladesh innings eventually folded when Harbhajan castled Rubel Hossain.