Denying Bangladesh what would have been a historic first-ever win over India, Shreyas and Ashwin struck a vital 71-run unbeaten partnership on Day 4 as India won by three wickets.
Spinners Mehidy Hasan (5 for 63) and Shakib Al Hasan (2 for 50) gave their best to make India’s chase of 145 a tough challenge on a turning track, but Shreyas and Ashwin showcased superb determination and temperament, leading a superb fightback to take India home from a hopeless situation.
India ended 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 key moments of the match and how India avoided a scare to keep their hopes of qualifying for the World Test Championship final alive:
Mominul’s superb 84 after Bangladesh opted to bat
Trailing 0-1 in the series after a 188-run defeat in Chattogram, skipper Shakib took a bold call and opted to bat first. But the decision didn’t turn out the way the hosts expected as they were bowled out for 227 in the first innings. Ashwin and Umesh Yadav picked up four wickets each, as Bangladesh struggled against the quality Indian attack, getting dismissed on Day 1. It was Mominul Haque’s vital 84 that took Bangladesh past the 200 mark on the day dominated by the India bowlers.
The Pant-Iyer stand
After wrapping up the hosts for 227, India’s top order struggled as the top 4 — KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli — fell cheaply. But Rishabh Pant and Shreyas played important knocks, adding 159 runs for the fifth wicket. While Pant struck an aggressive 105-ball 93, Shreyas scored 87 off 105 balls, giving India a sizable lead. The duo’s fearless approach worked to perfection and their counterattack pushed Bangladesh bowlers into a corner. Unfortunately both missed out on centuries but ensured India maintained a tight grip on the match.
Litton heroics with lower-order
Conceding an 86-run lead, Bangladesh were left to chase the game on a testing track, but Zakir Hasan struck a fine half-century at the top to kick-off the hosts’ second innings on a positive note. However, fall of regular wickets around Zakir kept the home team on the backfoot until Litton Das arrived in the middle and steadied the innings. After Zakir’s dismissal, Das only had the lower-order batters with him, but the 28-year-old scored a superb 73 to keep Bangladesh in with a fight. During his impressive knock, Das struck important partnerships with Nurul Hasan and Taskin Ahmed for the 7th and 8th wickets, respectively, as Bangladesh managed to set India a tricky 145-run target on a deteriorating pitch and hoped to put up a fight led by their spinners. Axar Patel and Ashwin shared five wickets between them in Bangladesh’s second innings.
Another India top-order meltdown
After a disappointing outing in the first innings, the Indian top-order batters hit a nadir in the second innings as well. The visitors found themselves reeling at 45 for 4 at close of play on Day 3. Openers Rahul and Gill, No.3 Pujara and Kohli all went back for single-digit scores as Bangladesh spinners spiced up the contest. Patel, promoted to bat at No. 4, and nightwatchman Jaydev Unadkat survived till the end of the third day, with India left to score another 100 runs to win.
Cool Iyer, Ashwin
Resuming on the overnight score of 45 for 4, India, as expected, lost nightwatchman Unadkat early but he did his job scoring a valuable 13 before being cleaned up by Shakib. However, the moment that gave Bangladesh a real sniff of a victory was the wicket of Pant (9), who was trapped in front by Mehidy after he cleaned up Axar (34) for his fifth Test five-for. Reeling at 74 for 7, India were under tremendous pressure but Ashwin and Shreyas kept their cool in the tense situation. Luck also favoured India as Ashwin was dropped on 1 by Mominul at short-leg. From there on, the duo did not look back and stitched an incredible partnership, starting cautiously and then taking on the spinners closer to the target. Taking calculated risks from time to time, both Shreyas and Ashiwn added 73 runs, steering India to victory just before lunch on Day 4.