Ravichandran Ashwin and Shreyas Iyer’s unbeaten 71-run partnership off 105 balls saved India from defeat. They led the visitors to a three-wicket win over Bangladesh in the second Test on Sunday at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
India needed 100 runs on the fourth day and had six wickets left. But Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz took three wickets in the first hour, putting India in a tough spot at 74/7. Bangladesh’s wicket-taking balls were straighter deliveries on a pitch that gave spinners a lot of help. This made things hard for India.
Ashwin and Shreyas’s partnership helps India.
But Ashwin and Iyer, India’s last recognized batting pair, defended well, mixed caution with aggression, and then hit a bunch of boundaries at the end to get the visitors over the line.
In a thrilling finish at Dhaka, Ashwin and Iyer batted together for 17.3 overs and scored at a rate of 4.05 runs per over. Ashwin was not out at 42, and Iyer was not out at 29 as India chased down 145 runs in 46 overs to win the series 2-0.
When India returned from 45/4, Mehidy Hasan Miraz beat Jaydev Unadkat on forward defense. India almost lost Jaydev Unadkat, but the umpire’s call saved them by a hair. The next ball, Unadkat hit the off-spinner with a slog sweep over the mid-wicket fence for six.
In the next over, Unadkat ran out of luck when he tried to cut off Shakib Al Hasan on the back foot, but the ball from the captain of Bangladesh skidded and hit his back pad in front of the stumps. Replays showed that the ball had hit the stumps, so he had to leave for 13 runs.
Axar Patel got Mehidy back on his feet.
India got two boundaries in a row when Axar Patel pulled Mehidy off the backfoot through mid-wicket, and Pant welcomed Shakib with a reverse sweep along the ground through the third man.
Mehidy got Pant out.
Pant was out when Mehidy got a length ball on the middle stump to drift in and hit the left-hander on the pads in front of the stumps in his next over. After getting Pant out for the third time in the series, Mehidy got his fifth wicket when Axar tried to flick the ball off his backfoot but missed it because the faster delivery uprooted his leg stump after hitting his pads.
During the third day of the second cricket test match between Bangladesh and India, Mehidy Hasan Miraz of Bangladesh celebrates the dismissal of India’s Virat Kohli.
If Mominul Haque hadn’t dropped Ravichandran Ashwin at the short leg, Mehidy could have gotten his sixth wicket. India’s Ashwin and Shreyas Iyer dug in and looked good while defending the ball on both their front and back feet. They only took a few shots that went for the goal.
Iyer used his precise footwork to get boundaries when the spinners gave loose deliveries. When Mehidy threw up outside off stumps, Iyer took a step forward and hit a square drive through the gap at the point.
His aggression didn’t stop when he faced Shakib. He danced down the pitch to loft the ball over mid-off, and when the left-arm spinner pitched it short, Iyer quickly turned around and pulled it over mid-wicket for a second boundary.
When Mehidy bowled too short, Iyer was deep in the crease and hit the ball hard through the gap at cover. Ashwin hit two more boundaries when he hit pacer Khaled Ahmed through a fine leg and then got an outside edge that went wide to the left of the gully.
Bangladesh started to feel pressure when the two of them worked together. This was clear when Najmul Hossain Shanto made a mistake at mid-off and gave India an extra run. Ashwin met Mehidy’s return with a backfoot one-handed pull over deep mid-wicket for six.
He would hit back-to-back fours off Mehidy, lofting over mid-off and pulling past wide mid-on. The second gave India the win in a game that came down to the wire, even though Bangladesh played a great match with bat and ball.
The series win also makes it more likely that India will make it to the final of the World Test Championship. India is currently second in the table, behind Australia, which is first. The team led by Pat Cummins is set to play four Tests in India in February 2019.
Even though India won the series, they still have many questions to answer, especially about their top order and how they play against spinners in conditions that favor spin. They can now thank Ashwin and Iyer for their hard-fought victory at Dhaka.
Bangladesh: Litton Das 73, Zakir Hasan 51, all out in 70.2 overs; Axar Patel 3/68.
India: 314 and 145 for seven after 47 overs (Ravichandran Ashwin not out at 42, Axar Patel not out at 26, Shreyas Iyer not out at 29; Mehidy Hasan Miraz 5/63).