India in charge of Mirpur Test despite Tamim Iqbal’s ton

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

MIRPUR - At the close of the third day’s play of the second cricket Test between India and Bangladesh, the former was still in control of the match despite a brillaint 151 from Bangladesh opening batsman Tamim Iqbal and a steady 55 by middle-order bat Junaid Siddique.

Replying to India’s mammoth 544 for eight declared, Bangladesh were 228 for three in their second innings and still 83 runs short of making India bat for a second time. Earlier, Bangladesh had scored 233 in their first innings.

Indian spearhead Zaheer Khan claimed three wickets for 63 runs to push Bangladesh on the defensive. Mohammad Ashraful and Shahadat Hossain with two runs apiece were at the crease at the draw of stumps.

A scintillating counterattack from Tamim Iqbal led Bangladesh’s resistance after they conceded a 311-run first-innings lead in Mirpur.

He was involved in Bangladesh’s largest-ever Test partnership, a 200-run effort with Junaid Siddique for the second wicket. The home side were looking good at 219 for 1 with 20 minutes left to play, but Zaheer Khan removed both settled batsmen to take the sheen off Bangladesh’s effort.

Iqbal unleashed an array of brilliant counter-attacking strokes to pose an injury-ridden Indian side some searching questions on the third afternoon. Severe on the pace bowlers, he also attacked the spinners as Bangladesh stormed to 118 for 1 at tea. With Junaid Siddique providing solidity at the other end, Iqbal was unbeaten on 79 at the interval.

Harbhajan Singh was the most economical of the bowlers on view, but even he wasn’t spared.

Earlier, India added 85 to their overnight total, with Dhoni’s 89 quite similar in character to the innings he played against Sri Lanka at the Brabourne Stadium in December.

With Rahul Dravid just discharged from hospital and about to head back to India, and Yuvraj Singh nursing an injured ligament in his left hand, India’s batting resources were depleted, but with Bangladesh adopting confused tactics against the lower order, Dhoni was able to combine watchfulness with some typically brutal strokeplay.

His intentions were clear when play resumed, with Shafiul Islam clubbed for a one-handed four over midwicket. And though Zaheer fell, miscuing a hook to fine leg, Dhoni was undaunted, walloping Shakib Al Hasan over long-off for six. By then, he had already changed his bat, and a wide offering from Shafiul was soon carved through the offside for four more.

Ishant Sharma eventually edged Mohammad Ashraful behind, but the Bangladeshi ordeal was far from over. With a landmark in sight, Dhoni shielded Ojha and targeted the wayward balls. Mahmudullah was thumped over cover for four and then over wide long-on for six and with Ashraful’s legspin also not making a dent, it was a depressing morning for the hosts.

Fortunately for the sparse crowd, Tamim’s Catherine-wheel shotmaking changed the mood after lunch.

Bangladesh 233 and 228 for 1 (Tamim 151, Junaid 55) trail India 544 for 8 dec ( Tendulkar 143, Dravid 111, Dhoni 89, Gambhir 68, Sehwag 56). (ANI)

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