Another day has passed in the first Test between India and Bangladesh at Chattogram, with the KL Rahul-led visitors taking another giant step towards collecting their first overseas victory in the format this year and going 1-0 up in the two-match series.
Much like the second day, the Indian team dominated Day 3 on Friday by quickly polishing off the rest of the Bangladeshi batting order before going past the 200-mark in quick time to set a mammoth target for the Bangla Tigers.
Rahul and Co will fancy their chances of bringing the contest at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium to an end on the penultimate day itself, given how Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj had made the Bangladeshi batters dance to their tunes on Day 2. The Tigers, however, will hope to emulate the fightback that they produced in the ODI leg of India’s tour, which they won 2-1, and salvage a draw or even go for a record chase in the remaining two days.
We now take a look at some of the key moments from the third day’s play:
Kuldeep completes his five-for
Kuldeep Yadav had been relegated to the sidelines as far as Test cricket is concerned, having not represented India in the format since February last year and making sporadic white-ball appearances since then, but the left-arm wrist spinner made a strong claim to getting a more permanent role in the Indian Test side with a superb four-wicket haul on Thursday, finishing the day with a haul of 4/33 which included the wickets of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim.
It was only fitting for the Kanpur native to complete his third Test five-wicket haul on Friday morning in just the fifth over of the day by getting Ebadot Hossain stumped for 17. Though he missed out on a maiden six-for, his figures of 5/40 are now his best in an innings in the format.
Gill hits maiden ton
With the amount of competition for slots in the Indian team, especially at the top of the order, every opportunity counts. And though Shubman Gill is fairly ahead in the pecking order when it comes to the opening slots, he still has to get the big knock under his belt every now and then to ensure he stays ahead of the pack.
And Gill did just that on Friday, smashing his maiden Test ton to not only put the visiting team in a dominant position but also highlight his readiness to take over as the permanent opener once the likes of Rohit, who missed out on the Chattogram Test due to injury, move on. Gill collected 10 fours and three maximums during his 152-ball 110, getting dismissed by Mehidy Hasan Miraz in the end.
Pujara ends century drought
It wasn’t just Gill who made the most of the conditions conducive for strokeplay on the third day at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, as Pujara too would bring up his first Test century in nearly four years, remaining unbeaten on 102 as India declared on 258/2 shortly after drinks in the evening session.
It has proven to be a Test to remember for the Saurashtra batter, who along with Ajinkya Rahane was written off at one point after being dropped from the side last year. While Rahane continues to remain on the sidelines playing domestic cricket, Pujara has forced his way back into the first-choice Indian team, and his latest knock — which came at a strike rate higher than Gill’s — along with his 90 in the first innings will ensure he remains part of skipper Rohit and coach Rahul Dravid’s plans for India’s home season starting next month.
Shanto and Zakir’s confident start
While the Bangladeshis surrendered meekly in their first innings, they will take heart from the confident display put up by their opening pair of Najmul Hossain Shanto and Zakir Hasan in the remaining overs of the evening session after India set them a mammoth 513 to win.
Shanto and debutant Zakir were batting on 25 and 17, both having collected three boundaries each and forging an unbroken opening stand that was worth 42 at the time of the umpires declaring close of play. With weather interruptions unlikely during this time of the year, the Bangladeshis have no option but to bat the remaining days out to force a draw or even pull off a record chase. And for that to happen, Shanto and Zakir will have to convert their start into a big partnership on Saturday.
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