Shakib, Shahadat torment India

Shakib, Shahadat torment India

Bangla captain leads the way with four wickets as visitors end day one on 213/8

Shakib, Shahadat torment India

India's openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag during the first day of the first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong on Sunday. AFPIndia’s stand-in captain Virender Sehwag had taunted Bangladesh saying they could not take 20 Indian wickets. But the hosts have already taken eight of them conceding 213 runs, giving a perfect riposte to Sehwag’s ‘Bangladesh is an ordinary side’ remark.

The lone not-so-ordinary performance from the Indian side came from a man who recently completed 20 years in international cricket — Sachin Tendulkar — who made a well-crafted unbeaten 76 to save India from a catastrophe.

The morning session that started 90 minutes behind schedule due to fog and damp conditions, indicated an Indian surge when Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir added 63 runs. The first over after lunch saw the Delhi Dasher smashing Shahadat Hossain for three fours in an over, further cementing the belief of an Indian charge. But a different story unfolded during the rest of the day’s play.

The parade to the pavilion started with the dismissal of Sehwag, result of a smart piece of captaincy from Shakib al Hassan. The Bangladesh skipper brought in an extra fielder in the circle – Tamim Iqbal at short cover — and the move paid desired dividends. An uppish push from Sehwag off Shakib ended in the hands of Tamim, ending a 73-run alliance with Gambhir.

The southpaw then went after a wide ball outside the off-stump from Shahadat to give stumper Mushfiqur Rahim an easy catch and Rahul Dravid played all over a full length delivery as Shahadat went up in the air in unbridled joy, watching the middle and off stumps in tatters.

VVS Laxman tried to be a little too fancy walking out of the crease, but Shakib beat him in the flight and the ball, after hitting his pads rolled over to stumper Rahim who effected a simple stumping.

Yuvraj Singh looked set to trigger a big stand in the company of Tendulkar. The left-hander did not look exactly comfortable but he stayed with Tendulkar, who completed 13,000 runs in international cricket during the day.

The Mumbaikar was in immaculate touch and the flurry of dismissals at the other end did not fluster him. Shakib tried various tactics against the master batsman without ever really succeeding to break his concentration. The only blip in an otherwise flawless innings was a chance he offered while on 16 to Imrul Kayes at slip off debutant Shafiul Islam, who impressed all with his sharp pace and ability to get awkward bounce.

Tendulkar also had a momentary scare when a miscued shot off Shahadat fell between three approaching fielders towards the end of the day. But Tendulkar could not enjoy the company of Yuvraj for long as the Punjab batsman played a casual shot off a full-toss from Shakib, scooping it to Rubel Hossain.

The left-arm spinner should be given a lot of credit for bowling a 25-over spell in which he grabbed three wickets. His nagging line and the ability to find spin from a slightly moist pitch was the main reason for India losing six wickets for a mere 97 runs in the post-lunch session.

Dinesh Kaarthick played an uppish drive to Raqibul Hasan at gully and at 150 for six, India were in real danger of getting skittled out for a paltry score. But Tendulkar managed to find some good support from Amit Mishra and Ishant Sharma — the replacement for Harbhajan Singh who was ruled out due to a stiff neck — as India trudged past the 200-run mark.

The day, however, belonged to Bangladesh. Emphatically so!

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