In order to win the second Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka and clinch a 2-0 series victory, Ravichandran Ashwin and Shreyas Iyer brought India from a precarious position of 74 for 7 to the target of 145 before noon on the fourth morning of play.
India had just passed the halfway point of what was beginning to appear to be an impossible goal when Mehidy Hasan Miraz uprooted Axar Patel’s leg stump for his sixth wicket of the innings. India had lost Jaydev Unadkat leg-before to Shakib Al Hasan when they were resuming at 45 for 4, and they had also wasted a review trying to save the night watchman.
Pant Demonstrated by he would be the main batsman by reverse-sweeping and sweeping Shakib from around the same area to wreak havoc on the hosts’ fields. Bangladesh had predicted after the third day’s play that Rishabh Pant would be the key batsman. The persistent Mehidy, though, quickly had his man; bowling a tight line from around the wicket, with one twisting and one going straight, Mehidy trapped Pant in front with one that did not turn. Pant made no attempt to review because it was so perfect.
On the third night, Axar replaced Virat Kohli at No. 4, and while the specialists had collapsed, he had played a really important innings, firmly defending and hitting the spinners off the back foot for boundaries.
Mehidy, however, sneaked in a straighter one in his subsequent over that slammed into Axar’s leg stump off his pad. India was down to their final recognised batting partnership 30 minutes into the game.
Mehidy continued to be a concern, but Mominul Haque, who had already made two great catches of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli at forward short leg, took what was arguably a far simpler opportunity from Ashwin at the time. Ashwin was only on one.
Eventually, someone had to bell the cat, and Shreyas Iyer was the one who regained control. He lofted Shakib over mid-off while dancing down the track, cracking Mehidy through the covers for a couple of fours and maybe throwing away India’s last chance if he got it wrong. Iyer immediately brought the shorter ball, which he swung back to pull over midwicket for another four.
“We didn’t have much batting left,” according to Ashwin, who was voted Player of the Match for his six wickets and undefeated 42 in the chase. “When we could have turned the game off, we let it wander because it was one of those games. Shreyas played excellent batting. They bowled good lines, and I thought we didn’t trust our defences enough. Sometimes in these circumstances, you feel like you have to get ahead of things. I liked Shreyas’ batting style. The ball, in my opinion, became soft very rapidly. To their credit, Bangladesh occasionally put us under a lot of pressure.”
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