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India have crashed down to an embarassing 213 for 8 on a curtailed opening day’s play at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong in the first Test. It was a fitting result for a team whose Captain Virender Sehwag went on to say that the opposition Bangladesh is an ‘ordinary side’ ahead of the Test match. The visitors still have enough time though to comeback in this match but they certainly lost the first day’s play to the underdogs.
Just prior to the Test Match having lost the Skipper MS Dhoni due to back spasms, India got a bigger blow in a neck strain to Harbhajan Singh this morning which ruled him out of the match. The visitors went with three pacers and a spinner in leggie Amit Mishra and were asked to bat first after losing the toss. The match got off to a delayed start by one and a half hours due to heavy fog. The first session saw only 13 overs of play in which Virender Sehwag (38) and Gautam Gambhir (22) eased India to 63 for no loss.
The post lunch session saw all the drama unfold with India losing six wickets in a hurry with most of the batsmen digging their own graves playing rank bad shots! It started with Virender Sehwag (52 from 51 balls with 9 fours) slicing his backfoot drive off Shakib Al Hasan to short covers in the 15th over. Just two balls later, Gautam Gambhir (23) chased a wide one from Shahadat Hossain with a cut shot but only to feather edge it to the Keeper. In the 18th over, Rahul Dravid played all around a fullish delivery bang onto his stumps with a flick shot to be bowled neck and crop by Shahadat Hossain. India slipped to 85 for 3 and that Dravid wicket got the crowd on their feet.
Sachin Tendulkar, the surviving batsman got a brief partnership going with VVS Laxman before the latter got stumped out off the Bangladeshi Skipper. It was in the 29th over that Laxman trying to flick one to the onside dragged the shot onto the pad and the deflection rolled towards the Keeper to the offside. Laxman had got into a tangle out of his crease to overbalance and get himself stumped in a bizzare fashion.
Yuvraj Singh joined Tendulkar at 107 for 4 and tried his bit to revive India but got out in a soft fashion just like Sehwag. In the 39th over, Yuvraj stepped out to a flighted one from Shakib Al Hasan but could only lob the full toss straight at the throat of mid on. Yuvraj scored only 7 but that included a six off a pull to a short ball from Mahmudullah. Four balls after Yuvraj dismissal, Dinesh Karthik drove away from his body to edge Shahadat Hossain to gully to leave India at a dismal 150 for 6!
By Tea, India was looking down the barrel at 160 for 6 in 45 overs with only Tendulkar (50) surviving the mad session though he was lucky to be dropped when on 16 when Imrul Kayes failed to hold onto a sharp slip chance. In the final session, Amit Mishra showed some grit in helping Tendulkar to put up a partnership. But his risky way of shuffling far too across the stumps cost his wicket when he missed a swinging yorker from Shahadat in the 52nd over. Amit Mishra scored 14 in a partnership of 32.
Tendulkar with India at 182 for 7 had no chance but to free his shoulders, he also had to shield the tail enders from facing Shakib Al Hasan. An adventurous Zaheer Khan was the next to bite the dust when he got caught bat pad off the Bangladeshi Skipper. The next five overs saw Tendulkar (76 from 140 balls with 6 fours and a six) play out the next five overs along with the no.10 Ishant Sharma before it became too dark for any play.
Both Shahadat Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan took four wickets each. Shahadat got the ball to reverse swing and so did the other two pacers – Rubel Hossain and debutant Shafiul Islam. Shakib Al Hasan got plenty of turn and bounce from the pitch and he mixed it cleverly with the arm balls. Bangladesh need to clean up the Indian innings and bat sensibly on the second day’s play to move forward in this match. India’s hopes on the other hand now rest on their pace attack to swing the ball around and keep Bangladesh down to a moderate total. Before that they would like Tendulkar to pile up few more runs before the inevitable.