The first Test between India and Bangladesh was off to an interesting start at Chattogram on Wednesday as the hosts put on a solid bowling display to keep KL Rahul and Co in check for the majority of the match.
After a less than ideal start, India fought back with Rishabh Pant’s innings, which set the tone for a redeeming fifth-wicket stand between Shreyas Iyer and Cheteshwar Pujara.
However, it was Bangladesh who would have been happier at stumps on Day 1 with India scoring 278/6. By the end of the first day, the Chattogram pitch could not be categorised as a batting paradise but it wasn’t a minefield either as displayed by Iyer and Pujara. But the execution of the Bangladesh bowlers, especially Taijul Islam, dried the runs to put India on the back-foot.
Here’s a session-wise recap of Day 1:
It ended up being Bangladesh’s morning after India, who opted to bat first, started well. Stand-in captain KL Rahul and Shubman Gill got off to a steady start, finding the boundaries regularly. However, with India at 30/0 after 7 overs, Bangladesh decided to ditch the slips, deploy men in front of the wicket, and bowl straight. Taijul Islam bossed the session starting from a maiden over and then going on to pick the wickets of Gill and Virat Kohli. Gill handed the hosts a soft dismissal after trying to paddle sweep and then, India lost three wickets in a cluster. Rahul chased a wide-ish delivery to chop-on against Khaled Ahmed and Taijul had Kohli absolutely plumb for just one run.
The uninspired start meant that India was under pressure after losing three wickets for seven runs, leaving the middle and lower order to do the heavy lifting. Rishabh Pant then relieved a lot of pressure with his usual aggressive approach as he took on Taijul off his lines, scoring a quick 26-ball 29 before lunch. As a result, Cheteshwar Pujara could play his game and scored 12 off 32 balls. As India wrapped up the first session, it was clear that the partnership between Pant-Pujara had to be the decisive one for India.
In the session: 26 overs, 85 runs and 3 wickets.
Pant threatened to take the game away from Bangladesh, but Mehidy Hasan Miraz dismissed the southpaw to put more pressure on the visitors and end the partnership between Pujara and Pant. Following that period, the famed batting-friendly Chattogram pitch wasn’t proving to be as easy for the batters as it was touted to be. However, Pujara and Iyer began to rebuild the innings but Taijul and Shakib Al Hasan’s spin ensured the runs dried up and kept the pressure on the two batters before tea. Eventually, Pujara and Iyer shared an unbroken 62-run partnership and brought up their respective half-centuries as India fought back against Bangladesh until tea.
The visitors reached 174/4 by tea with Pujara – who was dropped earlier in his innings – on 42 alongside Iyer on 41. After lunch, wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan dropped Pujara off Ebadot Hossain on 12 in the second ball of the second session. It would prove costly.
In the session: 30 overs, 89 runs and 1 wicket.
With things going India’s way, and Iyer and Pujara putting on a solid fifth-wicket stand, Bangladesh needed to end the day on a high. They opted to take the second new ball after 80 overs in the hope of breaking the partnership that put India in a position to dictate proceedings. And the hosts were successful in getting wickets in a cluster as they dismissed Pujara, ending his 149-run partnership with Iyer and Axar Patel who was dismissed by Mehidy in the final over of the day.
The highlight of the day for India was Pujara who put on a classic Pujara rearguard, scoring 90 off 203 and it gave India’s batting some substance after the lackadaisical dismissals of the other top-order batters. However, Pujara will now go 51 innings without scoring a century as he was bowled by Taijul Islam.
Pacer Ebadot Hossain proved to be unlucky in the 85th over when he nearly had Iyer but the bails did not come off. The Mumbaikar was dropped at deep midwicket too a little earlier, riding his luck on the day but once again playing a vital middle order knock in his brief Test career.
Iyer remained unbeaten at 82 at the end of the day’s play, and will hope that he can have a partner for the long haul in R Ashwin on Day 2.
In the session: 34 overs, 104 runs and 2 wickets
India: KL Rahul (capt), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj
Bangladesh: Najmul Hossain Shanto, Zakir Hasan, Yasir Ali, Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Khaled Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain