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India struggle in drawn Test
Harish Kotian in Chittagong | May 22, 2007 15:01 IST
Last Updated: May 22, 2007 18:53 IST
India's captain Rahul Dravid made a bold declaration but Bangladesh's batsmen dished out a solid batting performance to draw the first Test at the Chittagong Divisional stadium, in Chittagong, on Tuesday.
Chasing a target of 250 to win the match, Bangladesh were 104 for 2 in 28 overs before the teams mutually decided to call off play.
Opener Javed Omar top-scored with a brilliant, unbeaten 52 off 86 deliveries, which was inclusive of eight boundaries and a six. His 70-run partnership for the second wicket with captain Habibul Bashar, who scored 37, gave the visitors some anxious moments on the final day.
Earlier, India declared their second innings at 100 for 6.
Resuming the day on 44 for 2 after a four-hour delay because of wet ground conditions caused by overnight rain, India could add only 56 runs for the loss of four wickets as they went for quick runs.
Veteran left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique claimed the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Ramesh Powar to finish with 3 for 27.
India had scored 387 for 8 declared in the first innings and then bowled out Bangladesh for 238. The match was marred by inclement weather and almost more than half of the playing time was lost.
Post-lunch session (15 overs, 88 runs, 5 wickets):
When play resumed on the final day after a long delay due to overnight rain, Bangladesh looked the hungrier of the two sides. They were on the ground early, practicing their fielding, while the Indians stayed put in the dressing room and came out for a small session just before the start of play.
Mashrafe Mortaza started proceedings for Bangladesh and Dinesh Karthik announced India's intentions with a cracking pull shot off the fifth delivery of the day. India seemed to have come with a game plan of scoring quick runs and setting Bangladesh a tricky target.
However, Mortaza tasted success in the next over when he got the wicket of Karthik for 22, as the batsman attempted to pull another shot, but only spooning the ball straight to square leg.
Then Mohammad Rafique got the all-important wicket of first innings centurion Sachin Tendulkar. The veteran batsman tried to play the slog sweep to a quick delivery, but missed the ball completely and saw his stumps shattered. He scored 31, hitting two boundaries from 50 deliveries.
Sourav Ganguly also looked to get on with the scoring, but also fell cheaply after scoring 13. The left-hander lofted Rafique on the leg side but could not place it in the gap and Shahriar Nafees, at the square leg boundary, completed a good catch.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni then hit a huge six off pacer Shahadat Hossain as he dismissed a short delivery with utter disdain. The very next over Ramesh Powar was dismissed, stumped while attempting a huge shot off Rafique.
India's captain Rahul Dravid did not hang on much after that and declared the innings at 100 for 6 in 24 overs. Dhoni was unbeaten on 17 from deliveries, with a boundary and a six.
Bangladesh were set a target of 250 to win with a maximum of 43 overs at their disposal.
For India, it was a rather forgetful session. They lost four wickets for the addition of just 56 runs as they went for quick runs. But their bowlers have time on their mind. The stage is now set for a perfect one-day type run chase if Bangladesh are brave enough.
Even if the match ends in a draw, the Bangladesh bowlers can take some brownie points from this otherwise dull contest.
Rafique drew on all his experience, claiming 3 for 27 in the second innings, while Mortaza once again impressed, taking 2 for 30 in seven overs.
R P Singh continued his fine form with the ball as he scalped an early wicket. He had left-hander Shahriar Nafees caught down the leg side by Dhoni in the third over of the innings for 1.
Habibul Bashar seemed keen to avoid being dismissed for a duck for the second time in the match and he took the safe route by scampering for a single to register his first run.
Bashar and Javed Omar played solidly and tried to score whenever the opportunity presented.
Omar hit three boundaries and was unbeaten on 15 as Bangladesh reached 32 for 1 in seven overs at the tea break. At the other end, Bashar was not out on 11 from 10 balls, inclusive of two boundaries.
Around 36 overs have to be bowled, but it seems unlikely that we could have that many as light is already fading. But with whatever is left we could see some drama in the final session.
Post tea session: (21 overs, 72 runs, 1 wicket)
Omar and Bashar continued to play aggressively after tea. The batting had let the team down in the first innings and, perhaps, it was time to make up for it. After all, a good batting performance after that superb showing with the ball in the second innings could give the team a huge moral boost ahead of the second and the final Test in Dhaka.
Bashar's batting was a refreshing change, both for himself and his fans. The Bangladesh captain avoided playing loose early on, as he had recently, and once he got his eye in he looked solid.
The scoring rate grew with Bashar and Omar's positive approach while the Indian bowlers looked jaded.
Bashar fell for 37, caught at long-on as he tried to attack off-spinner Ramesh Powar after a fine partnership of 70 runs with Omar.
Omar, meanwhile, continued to make merry. His shed his normal conservative style of play and went for his shots, much to the delight of the crowd at the stadium.
His straight six in the 23rd over of the innings against Powar was an example of how easy he was having it in the middle. The veteran opener raced to his half-century, his seventh in Tests, off 75 deliveries; it included eight boundaries and a six.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, reached 100 for 2 in the 26th over and even though they were not exactly looking to chase down the target, they continued playing positively.
However, with the light fading, Omar and Rajin Saleh accepted the umpires' offer and the match ended in a draw.
Bangladesh ended on 104 for 2 in 28 overs. Omar top-scored with 52 from 86 deliveries, while Saleh was unbeaten on 7 from 25 deliveries.
For India, the bowling was again a struggle, and the absence of Anil Kumble in the second innings too didn't help matters.
R P Singh (1 for 29) and Powar (1 for 16) were the only bowlers to take wickets.
In the end, it could be fair to say that Bangladesh came away with more positives than India, though India had a good start to the match.
India missed a good chance to gain the upper hand after reducing Bangladesh to 149 for 8 in their first innings. After that, though, they couldn't make an impression with bat or ball in the second innings.
The second Test begins at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Mirpur from May 25 and India would be hoping to produce a better showing.
Complete Coverage - India's tour of Bangladesh 2007