Denying Bangladesh what would have been a historic first-ever victory over India, Shreyas and Ashwin completed a vital partnership of 71 runs unbeaten on Day 4 as India won by three wickets.
Spinners Mehidy Hasan (5 for 63) and Shakib Al Hasan (2 for 50) tried their best to make India’s 145 chase a tough challenge on a spinning track, but Shreyas and Ashwin showed of superb determination and temperament, leading a superb response to take India home from a desperate situation.
India finished Day 3 at 45 for 4 and lost three quick wickets on Saturday to slip to 74 for 7.
Here’s a look at the game’s key moments and how India avoided a scare to keep their hopes of advancing to the Test World Championship final alive:
Mominul’s stunning 84 after Bangladesh opted to strike
Trailing 0-1 in the series after a 188-point loss at Chattogram, skipper Shakib took a bold call and opted to strike first. But the decision didn’t go as the hosts expected as they were knocked out for 227 runs in the first innings. Ashwin and Umesh Yadav took four wickets each, as Bangladesh struggled against the quality Indian attack, getting dismissed on the first day. It was Mominul Haque’s vital 84 that lifted Bangladesh past the 200 mark that day dominated by Indian bowlers.
The Pant-Iyer booth
After finishing the hosts for 227, India’s first order struggled as a top 4 – KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli – fell lightly. But Rishabh Pant and Shreyas played important shots, adding 159 runs for the fifth wicket. While Pant hit an aggressive 93 from 105 balls, Shreyas scored 87 from 105 balls, giving India a huge lead. The duo’s fearless approach worked to perfection and their counter-attack pushed the Bangladesh bowlers into a corner. Unfortunately, the two missed ages but allowed India to maintain a grip on the game.
Heroic Litton with Lower Order
Conceding an 86-point lead, Bangladesh had to chase the game down a test track, but Zakir Hasan hit a fine half-century at the top to kick off the hosts’ second set on a high note. However, falling regular wickets around Zakir kept the home side on the back foot until Litton Das came through the middle and steadied the innings. After Zakir was fired, Das only had the lower-ranked hitters with him, but the 28-year-old scored a stunning 73 to keep Bangladesh in a fight. During his impressive stunt, Das made important partnerships with Nurul Hasan and Taskin Ahmed for the 7th and 8th wickets, respectively, as Bangladesh managed to set India a tricky goal of 145 runs on a pitch in deterioration and hoped to fight a fight led by their spinners. Axar Patel and Ashwin shared five wickets between them in Bangladesh’s second leg.
Another high-profile collapse in India
After a disappointing outing in the first inning, India’s top hitters also hit a nadir in the second inning. The visitors found themselves shocked at 45 for 4 at the end of play on Day 3. Openers Rahul and Gill, No 3 Pujara and Kohli all returned for single-digit scores as spinners Bangladesh spiced up the contest. Patel, promoted at bat to No. 4, and night watchman Jaydev Unadkat survived until the end of day three, with India staying to score an extra 100 runs to win.
Cool Iyer, Ashwin
Resuming overnight at 45 for 4, India as expected lost night keeper Unadkat early on but he did his job scoring a valuable 13 before being cleared by Shakib. However, the moment that gave Bangladesh a real whiff of victory was the wicket of Pant (9), who was trapped in front by Mehidy after clearing Axar (34) for his fifth five-for Test. Shocked at 74 for 7, India were under enormous pressure, but Ashwin and Shreyas kept their cool in the tense situation. Luck also favored India as Ashwin was dropped on 1 by Mominul in the short game. From there, the duo didn’t look back and stitched up an incredible partnership, starting cautiously and then taking on the spinners closer to the target. Taking calculated risks from time to time, Shreyas and Ashiwn added 73 points, leading India to victory just before lunch on Day 4.