Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer help India reclaim control in Mirpur Test

Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer combined in a rollicking 159-run partnership to help India wrest back control of the second test against Bangladesh on Friday.

The touring side were all out for 314 claiming a handy first-innings lead of 87 in the low-scoring contest at Mirpur’s Shere Bangla National Stadium.

Bangladesh finished day two on seven for no loss after openers Najmul Hossain and Zakir Hasan safely negotiated six tricky overs until stumps.

“I love challenges and … that was exactly the situation I wanted to be in,” Iyer, who made 87, told the official broadcasters, also heaping praise on Pant, who made 93.

“He maintained his calmness throughout and targeted the right bowlers at the right time.

“Especially in test cricket, he’s got this pattern of scoring runs against difficult bowlers, completely taking pressure off the batsman at the other end, and that’s what he did today.”

The hosts, having posted a below-par 227 in their first innings, dominated the morning session when left-arm spinner Taijul Islam’s triple strike rattled India.

Taskin Ahmed removed Virat Kohli soon after lunch to reduce India to 94-4 but Pant and Iyer counter-attacked in a spectacular manner to boost to India’s bid for a 2-0 series sweep.

Resuming on 19 for no loss, India lost both their openers — stand-in skipper KL Rahul and Shubman Gill — lbw to Taijul (4-74).

Number three batsman Cheteshwar Pujara made 24 but could not convert the start as Mominul Haque plucked a sharp catch at short leg to send him back.

Taskin had Kohli caught behind for 24 but Pant and Iyer decided to fight fire with fire.

Pant raced to a 49-ball fifty, while Iyer needed 11 more balls to bring up his own half-century.

Bangladesh did themselves no favours with some sloppy fielding, with Iyer benefiting from a missed stumping and a dropped catch.

Pant smashed five sixes and seven fours but missed out on a hundred, dismissed caught behind off Mehidy Hasan.

Iyer was also denied a century and fell lbw to Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan who wrecked India’s lower order to finish with figures of 4-79.

India won the first test by 188 runs in Chittagong on Sunday.

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