Friday, June 14, 2024

IND vs BAN 1st Test: Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara tons put India on top against Bangladesh on Day 3 in Chattogram

IND vs BAN 1st Test
India's Cheteshwar Pujara and Shubman Gill, celebrates after scoring a century during the third day of the first Test cricket match between Bangladesh and India in Chattogram Bangladesh, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022.

Chattogram (Bangladesh), December 16: Young batsman Shubman Gill and his experienced partner Cheteshwar Pujara slammed centuries as India held a firm grip on the opening Test of the two-match series against Bangladesh on Friday. Riding on Shubman’s maiden Test century and Pujara’s 19th ton, India declared their second innings at 258/2, setting a mammoth 513-run target before Bangladesh.
The hosts, who were skittled out for a paltry 150 in their first innings, were 42/0 at stumps on Day 3, with Najmul Hossain Shanto (25*) and Zakir Hasan (17*) at the crease. Bangladesh will have a mountain to climb on Day 4 as they still need 471 runs to win the opening Test.
The emotions were high for Pujara as he brought up his century off just 130 balls at a strike rate of 78.46. This was Pujara’s fastest century in his Test career and first in 52 innings.
For the second day in succession, Bangladesh were completely outplayed as Kuldeep Yadav’s career-best 5 for 40 helped India dismiss the hosts for a paltry 150 in just 55.5 overs.
With nearly three days at their disposal and a lead of 254, India captain KL Rahul decided against enforcing the follow-on as Gill (110) and Pujara (102 not out) took full advantage of a toothless Bangladesh attack that also missed its lead pacer Ebadot Hossain due to a back-injury.
The moment Pujara exorcised the ghosts of the last four years with the completion of his fastest Test hundred, skipper Rahul declared the Indian second innings closed at 258 for 2.
At stumps, Bangladesh were 42 for no loss on a track where a lot of balls are indeed keeping low but the pitch hasn’t shown considerable wear and tear. The hosts still require 471 runs to win the match.
However to bat for 180 overs over two days will be an improbable task for the Bangladesh batting line-up against the Indian bowling line-up.
Stand-in skipper Rahul, who holed out at the fine leg boundary off a well-laid short ball trap by Khaled Ahmed (1/52 in 13 overs), would rue that he missed a chance to get a big score under his belt.
However Gill, blessed with a gift of exquisite timing, pounced on a depleted Bangladesh attack, hitting 10 boundaries and three sixes — one off pacer Khaled and one each of Litton’s part-time spin and Mehidy Hasan Miraz after reaching his three-figure mark.
Gill’s attacking batting also allowed Pujara to take his time at the beginning. He accelerated towards the back-end of the Indian innings as he had 13 boundaries to show for his efforts.
But there could be no debate about which innings would be rated higher in terms of aesthetics. It certainly would be 23-year-old Punjab man, who at times would give a languid vibe in his effortless strokeplay.
He used the sweep to good effect against the off-spin of Miraz and the reverse sweep against the left-arm spin of Taijul.
He repeatedly came down the track to loft the spinners and disturb their length. He converted a lot of good length balls into half-volleys while any width from pacers or deliveries drifting down the leg-side were also met with utter disdain.
Gill however would consider himself lucky as he was twice adjudged leg-before by the on-field umpires but DRS ruled it not out. Another time when Bangladesh went for review, the DRS didn’t work.
Buoyed by his 90 in the first innings, Pujara was a picture of supreme confidence and this Bangladesh attack never had the wherewithal to dismiss him with literally no scoreboard pressure on India.
While his first fifty came off 87 balls, he raced to his next 50 in just 43 balls, answering anyone and everyone who kept on questioning his intent. If the first 50 runs had five fours, the second was laced with eight boundaries as he added 113 runs for the second wicket with Gill.
The relief was palpable when he hit Taijul Islam for a boundary and got a warm hug from Virat Kohli (19 not out) at the other end.
With a lot of deliveries starting to keep low, the spin troika of Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep and Axar Patel will be eager to come out on the fourth and fifth day to ensure a full 12 World Test Championship points for the team.
Najmul Hossain Shanto (25 batting) and Zakir Hasan (17 batting) have given an improved account of themselves in Bangladesh’s second essay.
At the start of the day, Kuldeep completed his third five-wicket haul when Ebadot (17)’s 37-ball vigil ended. His faint tickle down the leg-side was smartly snapped by wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.
It was Mehidy (25 batting), who fought doggedly and played the maximum number of balls (82) but had little support at other end before he became Patel’s only victim of the innings.
The two-match series is part of the ICC World Test Championship. India are fourth in the standings, having won six of their 12 matches. Bangladesh are in last place with eight defeats from 10 matches.
India need to win both matches of the series to stay alive in the race for the World Test Championship final.
(ToI With inputs from agencies)