Hyd Test: India in driver's seat

By the close on Day Four, Bangladesh, needing 459 for victory, had logged 103 for three in its second innings.

K. R. Deepak

Ravichandran Ashwin... quickest to 250 Test wickets.   -  K. R. Deepak

Riding on skipper Mushfiqur Rahim’s century, Bangladesh rustled up 388, less than quarter of an hour before lunch on the fourth day of the Paytm one-off Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Sunday. India, which declared its first innings at 687 for six, followed suit in the second on 159 for four at the stroke of tea, throwing the gauntlet to the touring side to muster 459 for victory. By the close, Bangladesh had logged 103 for three in its second innings.

> Scorecard and ball-by-ball-details

The day had barely crawled out of bed when Bangladesh suffered another blow. Mehedi Hasan, all of 19, but hardly the nervous novice on Saturday, was beaten neck and crop by a beauty from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The ball cut in so viciously from outside the off. The leg stump erupted from the earth and was thrown some distance away, much like debris from a seismic disaster.

The morning had Mushfiqur written all over it, as he turned eloquent spokesman for the weak against the mighty. Bangladesh’s skipper stood up to a domineering Indian attack, out to tame, if not torment him. If leadership is taught best by personal example, the Bogra-born batsman was a walking lesson on the subject, turning bat into wand and weapon, warding off threats to team and self.

The Indian pacemen probed his weakness for the short ball but pragmatic in approach, he ducked and swerved out of harm’s way. A glance fetched Mushfiqur his fifth century, the gaze skywards that followed more than fleeting. A wan smile signalled relief. If he had cramped his batting to fit it into the team’s cause, the climb to three figures freed his arms enough to loft Ashwin over the long on hoardings, a liberty not too many batsmen would want to take.

The crafty Chennai virtuoso would exact revenge not much later, luring Bangladesh’s top-scorer to feather a catch to Saha behind the woodwork. From a 2011 debut against the West Indies in Delhi, Ashwin, with Mushfiqur’s scalp, made the big leap to becoming the fastest in the game’s history to fell 250 victims, in 45 Tests, eclipsing the great Dennis Keith Lillee, who made the milestone in 48 Tests.

After India chose to bat again, Taijul Islam turned out to be Bangladesh’s opening gambit for the lone over before lunch. A spring in its step was seen after Taskin Ahmed took down Murali Vijay and K. L. Rahul, the duo dabbing at deliveries in and out of the corridor.

Sixes from Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja gave enough indication of India’s intent. Kohli was caught by mid-wicket Mahmudullah off Shakib Al Hasan, the southpaw not much later knocking down Rahane’s middle stump. After a barren first innings, Shakib had whirled his way back among the wickets. His bag would have been bigger had Mehedi held an overhead chance from Ravindra Jadeja close to the ropes at cow corner.

Going for the cup that cheers, India called a halt, setting the visitor a not too steep target with 135 overs left to be bowled. Tamim Iqbal’s bat-pad snick off Ashwin was snapped up by Kohli at gully. The umpire wasn’t convinced but a DRS appeal for the opener’s dismissal was upheld.

Soumya Sarkar’s two successive boundaries off Bhuvneshwar invited speedy reprisal, a steepler in the next ripping into the opener’s helmet. Bangladesh suffered its next reversal when Sarkar’s edge off Jadeja was raked up by Rahane in the slips, low to his right. An LBW verdict against Shakib off Jadeja was overturned following a referral.

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