Mahmudullah ended an 11 innings drought for a 50-plus score and Mehedi Hasan Miraz (23) and No. 9 Kamrul Islam Rabbi (3* off 70) stonewalled doggedly for nearly an hour at the end to keep India at bay. But even on an unresponsive wicket, the gulf in class between the two sides was evident as India, despite needing Bhuvneshwar Kumar to bowl only three overs, kept plugging away at crucial junctures to bowl the side to another comprehensive win – their eighth in nine games this season so far. Australia, be warned!
India had to do more than merely turn up on the fifth day, to prize out the seven remaining second innings wickets. With 459 runs to play with (356 at the start of play), there were no risks to being overly attacking either. However, save for a few footmarks at the VVS Laxman end, the pitch remained fairly unthreatening. But, it was this rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump that did Shakib in. Ravindra Jadeja took nine minutes on the day to land on squarely on a footmark and the ball exploded off the surface catching a tentative Shakib on his bat handle before ballooning to the short-leg fielder via the thigh pad.
Despite being jolted 15 balls into the day’s play, Mahmudullah and captain Mushfiqur stood firm against another probing display of reverse swing bowling from Umesh Yadav. The Vidarbha pacer, at various stages of his five-over burst, operated with two short mid-wickets to assist his late reverse into the right handers. But the Bangladesh duo did well to survive not to nick any of the deliveries that held their lines on the fourth-stump channel. Jadeja meanwhile was not as effective bowling into the rough outside the right handers’ leg stump.
The duo settled down well forcing Kohli to swap Ishant Sharma for Umesh even as the umpires put the ball through multiple hoop tests. The ball change eventually coincided with the drinks interval as Ashwin was brought into the attack for the first time. The break appeared to have played tricks with the Bangladesh’s captain’s thoughts. For straight after the drinks, Mushfiqur found it prudent to take on the No. 1 Test spinner. In a bid to lay an early marker in his battle with Ashwin, Mushfiqur charged mindlessly of the crease and was beaten by Ashwin’s dip and the shortening of length. The miscue landed in Jadeja’s palm at mid-off, giving India their second, and perhaps the most vital scalp of the morning.
Mahmudullah survived a concentration lapse of his own and along with a gritty Sabbir Rahman for company, managed to take Bangladesh to Lunch without further damage, keeping slim hopes of a miracle alive. But Ishant’s post-lunch spell snuffed any doubt of the result. Like Umesh before him, Ishant was fast, accurate and got the ball to tail back into the right hander at pace.
One such delivery struck Rahman below the knee roll and trapped him adjacent to the middle stump. Mahmudullah, who went past 50, then succumbed to a bouncer barrage top-edging a meek pull to fine-leg. Off the last delivery of his spell, Ishant should have had Mehedi too and forced an early finish but had to watch in aghast as Murali Vijay put down a straight forward chance at first slip. The little pockmark on yet another fine day only served to delay the inevitable with Ashwin ending the game on a poignant note – with one of their few successful DRS review for LBW in the game. As they say, all’s well that ends well.
Brief Scores: India 687/6d (Virat Kohli 204; Taijul Islam 3-156) & 159/4d (Cheteshwar Pujara 54*; Taskin Ahmed 2-43) beat Bangladesh 388 (Mushfiqur Rahim 127; Umesh Yadav 3-84) & 250 (Mahmudullah 64; Ravindra Jadeja 4-78) by 208 runs.