India made short work of the Bangladesh tail, removing the last four wickets for 52 runs in 11.2 overs, to record a thumping 188-run victory and take a 1-0 series lead, at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium here on Sunday.
The win was important in India’s quest to keep its World Test Championship dream alive. It is now second in the table behind Australia (with five more Tests remaining in this cycle), nosing ahead of South Africa which lost in Brisbane, also on Sunday, in under two days.
Resuming from an overnight score of 272 for six and needing a further 241 runs for an improbable win, there was very little the last-recognised Bangladesh batting pair of skipper Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan could do.
The two threw their bats around to collect a few consolatory embellishments. Mehidy drove Mohammed Siraj to the cover fence in the very first over of the day, but couldn’t keep another steer down shortly afterwards and was caught at backward point.
Shakib, a restless batter even in the best of times and someone who gives out the vibes of a maverick cricketer amidst a bunch of modest triers, went after the bowling. He launched Axar Patel over long-on for six to reach his half-century and then deposited the left-arm spinner over deep mid-wicket for another maximum. There were even flat-batted hits against the pacers that went down the ground for runs.
But Kuldeep Yadav soon foxed him. Shakib swept a full delivery to the square-leg boundary but a repeat attempt off a ball that was held back slightly, and thus shorter in length, ended in failure, rearranging his stumps.
An entertaining 84 (108b, 6×4, 6×6), that helped the captain leave a small mark on a match that he had struggled to influence for four full days, had come to an end. It wasn’t long until his team sank as well.
“It was a good wicket to bat [on], but we didn’t [bat well] in the first innings,” Shakib lamented later. “Playing Test cricket after five or six months isn’t easy. But it cannot be an excuse. We cannot just bowl and bat well in one inning. We have to play well all five days.
“We identified our mistakes and tried to do well in the second innings. But a lot of credit should go to India. They bowled in partnerships and created pressure.”