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Victory within Tigers’ grasp

  • Samsul Arefin Khan
  • 25 December, 2022 12:00 AM
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Victory within Tigers’ grasp
Bangladesh off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz (right) celebrates after the dismissal of India’s Virat Kohli (not pictured) during the third day of the second Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur on Saturday. – AFP PHOTO

Bangladesh were never so close to beating India in a Test match after their spinners did a heroic job with the ball in the last session of day three to bring much excitement in the second and last Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur of Dhaka on Saturday.

Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz claimed three wickets, including Cheteshwar Pujara (six), Shubman Gill (seven) and Virat Kohli (one), while skipper Shakib Al Hasan dismissed his Indian counterpart KL Rahul (two) to limit India to 45-4 at stumps of the third day after the Tigers set a target of 145 runs.

Indian all-rounder Axar Patel finished the day remaining unbeaten on 26 while nightwatchman Jaydev Unadkat made three not out, but the onus will be mainly on the shoulders of Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer to save their side from a massive humiliation today.

India will need exact 100 more runs to win the series 2-0 while Bangladesh will require six wickets to clinch their maiden Test win over their neighbouring side.

Earlier on the day, Liton Das struck 73 off 98 balls while Zakir Hasan made 51 runs before Bangladesh were bowled out for 231 runs in their second innings after they resumed an overnight score of 7-0.   Bangladesh lost 10 out of 12 Tests against India and the two draws came mostly for weather issues. Among those 10 defeats, Bangladesh lost five matches by an innings margin while they also conceded big defeats in the other matches as well.

When Bangladesh lost their last wicket in the second innings after the tea break, it looked like India might finish the game inside the third day as a total of 26 overs was still to be played on the day.

However, Shakib, who bowled the first over in the Indian second innings, took no time to create havoc as he took a review for an lbw on Rahul in the first ball. The reply showed the ball would miss Rahul’s leg stump, but it created panic in the batsman’s mind.

Mominul Haque dropped the batsman in the short leg in the last ball of the same over but Shakib finally got rid of Rahul in his next over by forcing him to give a catch to wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan Sohan.

It was then all about Mehidy, the man who orchestrated Bangladesh’s ODI series win over India a few weeks ago, as he took three more wickets to rattle the Indian top-order and reduced them to 37-4.

The off-spinner removed Pujara and Gill through two back-of-length deliveries after both the batters missed the balls and were stumped by Sohan.

Then Mominul made a great amendment by taking a sensational catch at short leg to dismiss Kohli of Mehidy’s bowling that put Bangladesh in a strong position in the game.

Kohli showcased his dissatisfaction while leaving the field after Bangladeshi players had some animated celebration following his dismissal and on-field umpires and Shakib had to come forward to calm the situation.

Earlier, Bangladesh lost four of their wickets before taking lead over India with Najmul Hossain Shanto (five), Mominul (five), Shakib (13) and Mushfiqur Rahim (nine) departing cheaply and leaving the hosts struggling at 70-4.

Zakir, who struck a brilliant hundred in the first Test, continued his good work with the bat and completed his maiden Test fifty but he fell to Umesh Yadav just after reaching his fifty.

Mehidy’s dismissal to Axar (3-68) left Bangladesh tottering at 113-6 but Liton’s 15th Test fifty alongside two crucial knocks from Sohan (31) and Taskin Ahmed (31 not out) helped Bangladesh set a close to the 150-run target for India.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Siraj took two wickets each for the visitors.

Bangladesh made 227 runs in their first innings before India scored 314 runs to take an 87-run lead over the Tigers.