On the first day of the second Test here on Thursday, Bangladesh were bowled out for a subpar 227 thanks to Umesh Yadav’s sharp old ball spells and Ravichandran Ashwin’s controlled effort, which placed India in total command.
India reached 19 for no loss at stumps, with Shubman Gill and captain KL Rahul each scoring one run off of thirty balls (14 batting, 20 balls).
The decision to bench last Test’s player of the match, Kuldeep Yadav, appears to have been a contentious one because some of the balls delivered by Bangladeshi spinners were going square.
On a day when Jaydev Unadkat’s (2/50 in 16 overs) return to the Test fold after 12 long years did spark some discussion about some selection decisions made by this team management, Umesh (4/25 in 15 overs) led the Indian pace attack bravely as Ashwin (4/71 in 21.5 overs) closed in on a career-haul of 450 wickets (447 currently).
Unadkat may consider himself fortunate, though, since Kuldeep, the game’s hero (8 wickets and 40 runs), was abruptly dropped by the team’s administration, which included the two Rahuls — head coach Dravid and captain Kannaur Lokesh (KL).
Rahul, the captain, described the surface as perplexing during the toss, which led them to select Unadkat as a second seam bowler.
The plan didn’t backfire primarily due to the poor calibre of Bangladesh’s batting order.
The lone batsman who displayed outstanding patience for more than four hours was former captain Mominul Haque (84, 157 balls), although he rarely had any help from the other end.
In addition to adding 39 runs for the first wicket, Zakir Hasan and Najmul Hosain Shanto (24) also ended the morning bowling of Umesh and Mohammed Siraj (0/39 in 9 overs).
When the ball bounced a bit more and was caught in the slips, Unadkat made the first breakthrough.
However, when he came around the wicket and aimed one into the batsman, the Saurashtra player delivered a better delivery to get the stolid Mushfiqur Rahim. The ball entirely squared up Rahim after pitching and straightened up enough.
After a 12-year absence, Unadkat made his Test debut against South Africa in Centurion in December 2010. He missed 118 games in total, the most by an Indian and the second-most in all of cricket.
However, Umesh, who frequently pitched the ball up, was India’s most impressive bowler. It was encouraging to see that in addition to his go-to shot, the outswinger, he had also perfected a strong inswinger, which he utilised to dismiss Nurul Hasan.
By bowling a probing channel, he also took the crucial wickets of Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz, and the slowness of the pitch took care of the rest.
Litton Das (25 off 26 balls) played an aggressive innings with two boundaries and a six, but he was unable to build on his success as he flicked an Ashwin full-length pitch straight to the skipper, KL Rahul.
Mominul nonetheless maintained his composure and carried on quietly, scoring 12 fours and a six.
When Ashwin formed for an expansive drive and then decided to check his stroke but the ball brushed his gloves into Rishabh Pant’s gloves, he decided to remove Mominul at the conclusion of the day.