Mohammad Mahmudullah hit an unbeaten 96 under pressure, but failed to stop India from gaining an upper hand in the second and final Test against Bangladesh yesterday.
Bangladesh were wobbling at 51-5 before posting 233 in their first innings, mainly thanks to lower-order batsman Mahmudullah, who kept the Indian attack at bay with a gutsy 156-ball knock.
India raced to 69 for no loss in reply at stumps, with Virender Sehwag (41 not out) and Gautam Gambhir (26 not out) at the crease.
The visitors were indebted to pace duo Ishant Sharma (4-66) and Zaheer Khan (3-62) for restricting Bangladesh to a modest total. Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha was the other main wicket-taker with 2-49.
Bangladesh were 106-6 when Mahmudullah walked in to bat, but India had to struggle for the remaining wickets as he put on 58 useful runs for the ninth wicket with Shafiul Islam, who contributed only 9.
Mahmudullah was on 80 when last-man Rubel Hossain joined him, but could manage only 16, including 11 in an over from off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. He hit 13 fours.
Harbhajan finished the innings when he bowled Rubel for his lone victim, leaving Mahmudullah just four short of his maiden Test century.
India’s bowlers were superbly supported by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who took three catches and made two stumpings after missing the previous Test because of an injury.
Most of the Bangladeshi batsmen failed to apply themselves, with Mohammad Ashraful (39), skipper Shakib al Hasan (34) and Mushfiqur Rahim (30) all getting out when looking well-set.
Ashraful and Shakib both fell to rash strokes. Ashraful stepped out to attempt a big shot off Ojha, missed the line and was stumped, while Shakib was caught behind chasing an away-swinging delivery from Zaheer.
Rahim, who added 55 for the sixth wicket with his captain, was trapped leg before wicket by Sharma after hitting six fours in his 61-ball knock.
India gained an early advantage when they left the hosts reeling at 84-5 in the morning session, with Zaheer and Sharma taking two wickets apiece and Ojha the other.
Ashraful hit six fours in his 31-ball knock, while Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique and Raqibul Hasan all failed to reach double figures.
Bangladesh’s batting problems began immediately after winning the toss when Sharma had Kayes caught by Dhoni with his first delivery of the match.
Zaheer bowled opener Iqbal with a delivery that came in sharply and then had Siddique caught behind to reduce the hosts to 13-3.
Sharma’s second victim was Raqibul Hasan, caught by Rahul Dravid at second slip after making only 4.
India lead 1-0 in the two Test series.
At the one-day international in Sydney, Australia 267 for 6 (50.0 overs) defeated Pakistan 127 all out (37.3 overs) by 140 runs. Australia lead the series 2-0.
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