Day two of the second Test between India and Bangladesh saw Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer both fall short of deserving centuries but their counterattacking 159-run partnership helped India take a 87-run lead after the first innings.
That partnership was the only solid cushion India got in the innings as the top and middle order crumbled after throwing away good starts. Pant’s knock, in particular, was heading towards something extremely special yet again but a disciplined bowling effort from the hosts saw them reap the rewards towards the end. Four-fors from Bangladesh spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Taijul Islam were instrumental in preventing any other significant Indian partnerships from building.
Eventually, India were all out for 314 in 86.3 overs with an 87-run lead which may not look threatening but can prove to be just right if the pitch continues to make scoring difficult.
Bangladesh ended Day 2 at 7/0 in the second innings.
Here’s the session-wise recap of Day 2:
The Indian openers were watchful in the morning and the hosts’ disciplined bowling effort made the runs hard to come by. Rahul and Gill left early, thanks to double strikes by Taijul Islam, both LBW and both probably left ruing their shot selection.
Pujara and Kohli built a useful 34-run partnership. However, Taijul converted the double strike into triple and got rid of Pujara with a brilliant catch at forward short leg, just as the partnership had settled. Aiding Taijul’s wicket-taking spell was some economical bowling from the spinners who ensured the scoring rate was under control.
Virat Kohli looked rather uneasy in patches in the session but also showed incredible front foot defence against spin. Liton Das dropped Kohli at 16 off Taijul before Bangladesh missed a run out chance in the same over. Kohli and Rishabh Pant began to lay the foundation for a partnership that was the need of the hour for India.
With Kohli batting at 18 and Pant at 12, India headed into lunch on Day 2 with 86/3.
In this session - 28 overs, 67 runs, 3 wickets
All of Virat Kohli’s composure before lunch was in vain because in just his second over, Taskin Ahmed got him for 24. Up until then, India had not had a solid partnership and as a result, the heavy-lifting was down to the middle order again. But then Pant did what he does best in Test cricket and blew the Bangladesh bowlers away with his counter-attack. Even Taijul Islam, who was the pick of the bowlers so far, had no answers for him. Beginning steadily and then accelerating, Pant combined with Shreyas Iyer to build a quickfire 100-run partnership.
After a session that belonged to the hosts, India roared back into the game, erasing the deficit to just one run at 226/4.
In this session - 25 overs, 140 runs, 1 wicket
Pant departed seven runs short of what could have been his sixth Test century as Mehidy Hasan brought Bangladesh the much-needed breakthrough. It also broke the 159-run partnership between him and Iyer and it was one that maybe could prove to be decisive in the outcome of the match.
It wasn’t a chance-less knock but Iyer had just started to look promising in his 87-run stay before Shakib Al Hasan brought an end to that.
Bangladesh fought hard in the session to crawl back into the game. Captain Shakib, in particular, starred with 4/79 (as he was going unsold at the IPL auction) to clean the tail and avoid any lower middle order resistance like Chattogram. The see-saw game continued in this session after the hosts picked up three quick wickets with Pant, Axar Patel and Iyer being dismissed in quick succession.
R Ashwin too wasn’t able to replicate his heroics from the previous match and fell to Shakib for 12 runs. Mohammad Siraj and Jaydev Unadkat attempted to push the lead to the 100-run mark but in vain. They finally finished with a lead of 87. While that does not look significant, with the pitch getting tougher to bat on, it may well prove to be enough.
Bangladesh did well to finish the day without losing any wickets in the six-ball period and would be hoping to put up the resistance even on Day 3.
In the session - India - 25.3 overs, 88 runs, 5 wickets
Bangladesh - 6 overs, 7 runs, 0 wickets