Captain Mushfiqur, Mehedi help Bangladesh resist India

Down 109 for four in the first session, Bangladesh recouped to 322 for six at the end of third day's play, bolstered by skipper Mushfiqur Rahim’s valiant 81 and a resilient 51 from the young Mehedi Hasan.

Mushfiqur Rahim

Mushfiqur Rahim plays a shot during the third day of the Test match between India and Bangladesh at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday.   -  K.R. Deepak

If consistency is an upwardly mobile benchmark, Bangladesh nosedived to doom and 109 for four in the first session on the third day of its Paytm one-off cricket Test match against India at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium on Saturday. By the close, it stemmed the rot, recouping to 322 for six, bolstered by skipper Mushfiqur Rahim’s valiant 81 and a resilient 51 from the young Mehedi Hasan.

> Full scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary

Cracks began to appear in Bangladesh’s brittle batting right from the outset. The overnight pair of Tamim Iqbal and Mominul Haque couldn’t get the measure of either Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Umesh Yadav, the ball getting the better of the bat more often than not, when it boiled down to a contest between the two.

If there were rough edges to Bangladesh’s ascent to the big league, running between the wickets was one of them. A mid-field mix-up or just that little hesitation that can mean life or death under the searing searchlight of international cricket caught Tamim, going for the second run, a good few paces short at the non-striker’s end. Bhuvneshwar took his time to lob the ball into the woodwork off Yadav’s throw from the fine-leg region.

The strapping speedster was the most menacing through the day, leaving the batsmen bemused by his line if not the bounce. Low on luck, Yadav came close to the kill time and again but zeroed in on a tentative Mominul before the fateful first hour had passed. The bid to block the ball’s advance to his pads wasn’t swift enough. The third of Bangladesh’s left-handed top trio was left to take the lonely trek back to the pavilion.

Mohammad Mahmudullah met with the same fate but against Ishant Sharma who was operating from the VVS Laxman pavilion end that seemed to favour the speedsters more.

Some stability was restored with the arrival of Shakib Al Hasan, who was shaky at the start but then combined well with Mushfiqur to hold fort till lunch.

If there was a paucity of partnerships, which provide the lifeline to an innings, the one between these two offered much more than a ray of hope for Bangladesh. Shakib stood up to the host’s attack, 14 hits to the ropes hinting he was here to stay. The all-rounder had gone way past his previous best of 34 against India and a century was his for the asking.

Take a look at: > India v Bangladesh: Day Three in pictures

The chemistry the captain enjoyed with his predecessor continued from Wellington, where the duo had added 359 against New Zealand. Here the pair had put on 107, easily the most productive for the side, when Shakib pulled the plug on Bangladesh’s best joint venture.

> Read: Bangladesh a long way away from safety

He couldn’t curb the urge to cut loose and stepped out against the niggardly Ashwin. That smack against the spin wasn’t from the meat of the blade and it ballooned to Yadav at mid-on.

The second session had yielded 121 for Bangladesh, weakened considerably by the exits of Shakib and Sabbir Rahman. The latter sought to shovel Jadeja down to fine leg, missed the line completely, was rapped on the pads and in front. With his men abandoning ship at regular intervals, Mushfiqur led from the front when it came to the fightback.

The Bangladesh skipper’s half century took nearly three hours and 133 balls in the making. Into the day’s last session, he dropped anchor further, 65 balls separating his seventh boundary from the sixth. Mehedi’s maturity belied his 19 years as he warded off threats from the Indian attack, the zeal there for all to see when scampering between the wickets with vim and vigour, even when the ball looked bound for the boundary.

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