In a pink-ball Test at the iconic Eden Gardens which has moved at neck breaking speed, Bangladesh lived to survive another day against India after a battling innings from Mushfiqur Rahim.
Having been bundled out for just 106 runs in their first innings in the historic day-night affair, Bangladesh were staring at another dramatic collapse before Mushfiqur showed some gumption with the bat. Ultimately, the visitors ended the day at 152-6 and they still need another 89 runs to avoid successive innings defeats on the tour.
Earlier, Virat Kohli dazzled the packed Eden Gardens’ crowd with an entertaining century which helped India amass a 241-run first-innings lead in the final Test. The India skipper’s record-breaking innings was the major highlight of an eventful Day Two, and it is where we start off our talking points.
Magnificent Kohli becomes India’s first pink-ball centurion
Skipper Kohli had looked in imperious touch with the bat on day one when he raced away to a fifty, and the right-hander dished out more of the same on Saturday. The 31-year-old was batting on a different surface to the rest of the batsmen as he brought up a 27th ton in Test cricket.
Bar a couple of uncomfortable moments against Bangladesh spinner Taijul Islam, Kohli was in complete control in his entertaining stay at the crease. It was Kohli’s 20th ton as India skipper and only South Africa icon Graeme Smith (27) has more while being at the helm of a Test team.
On a pitch where no other batsman from either side scored more than 59, Kohli’s 136-run innings was a class apart and he fully deserves the accolade of being India’s maiden pink-ball centurion.
In the end, it took a stunning acrobatic catch from Taijul Islam on the boundary ropes to end Kohli’s masterclass at the Eden Gardens. The 141 innings it has taken Kohli to bring up 27 Test tons is the same as Sachin Tendulkar with only the great Sir Don Bradman having done it in quicker time (70 innings).
Ishant rattles Bangladesh again
Ishant Sharma ended a 12-year wait to claim a five-wicket haul on home soil in the first innings, and the lanky pacer performed an encore when Bangladesh came out to bat on Saturday.
Pinning Shadman Islam lbw with the fifth delivery of the innings, Ishant wasted no time in announcing his arrival and giving India a roaring start. His first four overs with the new ball yielded three wickets with Bangladesh skipper Mominul Haque and opener Imrul Kayes becoming the other victims of his incredible mastery over the pink ball.
The 31-year-old pacer returned later in the innings to end Mehidy Hasan Miraz’s resistance, with the dismissal coming at a time when India were desperately craving a breakthrough. Having played second fiddle to Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav in recent home Tests, Ishant has truly come into his own with the pink ball and become the undisputed leader.
Nine wickets and counting for Ishant now and a 10-wicket match-haul seems like a foregone conclusion on day three, given the manner in which he has bowled so far.
Gritty Mushfiqur raises hopes of Bangla fightback
When the brilliant Ishant reduced Bangladesh to 13-4 in no time, the writing seemed to be on the wall for the visitors. However, rather than fold like a pack of cards like they had done in the first innings, the Tigers showed some fight with Mushfiqur Rahim leading the way.
Taking the game to India’s bowlers with a punchy counterattack, the senior Bangladesh stalwart unleashed some exquisitely-timed boundaries on his way to a 21st Test fifty.
He found able support at the other end in the form of Mahmudullah, with the two senior batsmen helping Bangladesh reduce much of the first-innings deficit. While Mahmudullah eventually retired hurt due to a hamstring injury, Mushfiqur continued to march on undeterred under the lights at Eden Garden.
He remained unbeaten on 59 as India closed the day with Taijul Islam’s dismissal and he alone now stands between India and another innings victory. With scores of 43 and 64 in the preceding Indore Test, Mushfiqur has been a near one-man army with the bat for Bangladesh whose other senior players have disappointed hugely.
Know more about Sport360 Application