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Tears are flowing in the streets of Mirpur tonight, as Bangladesh have failed to capitalise on an opportunity to claim their first ever win over India in Test match cricket.
After being thoroughly dispatched in the first Test match of this series just a few days ago, Bangladesh put up a much better fight this time and worked themselves into a position where victory was looking likely for the men in green early on day four. However, India’s bright spot of their Bangladeshi tour so far, Shreyas Iyer, combined with an old hand in Ravi Ashwin to put on a powerful eighth wicket partnership and take India across the finish line.
In doing so, India claimed an unassailable series lead and furthered their case for the World Test Championship final next year. Here’s a look at how the match unfolded.
Bangladesh Bat First, But Much of the Same
While India stepped in to bat first in last week’s Test, this clash started off with Bangladesh posting a total. However, both first innings unfolded in a fairly similar manner to the first Test.
Bangladesh posted 227 all out, an improvement of 77 runs on their first innings score last week. Still, it was a total that seemed fair below par against an Indian side that scored 400+ last week. Mominul Haque was the anchor for Bangladesh, striking 84 off 157 with the rest of the top seven batsmen contributing modest scores below 30 and the tail folding for little. Umesh Yadav and Ravi Ashwin were the main hit men, each taking four wickets.
In reply, India struck a little less than they did in the first Test, making 314 all out by late in day two. Bangladesh did well to clean up four wickets before India crossed the 100 mark, however Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer then combined for a 159-run partnership to give India an 87-run first innings lead.
Second Innings’ Twist Sees Bangladesh Gain Upper Hand
For all intents and purposes, it seemed like this match was heading down a similar road to the first Test, which India won comfortably.
India’s bowlers came at Bangladesh with purpose, and had them four wickets down before they removed the first innings deficit. Litton Das provided some good resistance with his 73, while Nurul Hasan and Taskin Ahmed both made brisk 31s, however it was not enough to take Bangladesh any further than 231 all out, giving them a slim 144-run lead.
Everyone expected India to come out and chase this total with ease, but this was far from how things unfolded. Immediately, spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz combined to show India that Bangladesh meant business, removing the openers and Chesteshwar Pujara for under 30 runs. The momentum continued as Miraz took a five-wicket bag and Hasan grabbed another scalp, leaving India at 74/7 and staring down the barrel of defeat.
Iyer and Ashwin Break Hearts
With 70 runs required to win, and two genuine tail-enders to come after the eighth wicket stand, it was down to Shreyas Iyer and Ravi Ashwin to win this Test match for India.
And that’s exactly what they did.
The two batsmen muted Bangladesh’s momentum by blocking and leaving to deftly absorb the pressure from the side’s spinners. With a partnership established, and the deficit halved, they then upped the tempo. By the time the total had been chased down, Iyer and Ashwin looked like they were playing white ball cricket, striking 16 runs off the final over and both with strike rates in the mid-60s.
For Bangladesh, it will have been a heart-breaking defeat. To have their big brother India needing 70 runs with only three wickets in hand, and to allow that opportunity to slip away will be a bitter pill to swallow. For India, it sees them solidify their position as second in the World Test Championship table, and seals the series 2-0.