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Friday, February 3, 2023

Chattogram Test: Advantage India as Pujara, Shubman crack tons

Date:

Scintillating centuries by Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara put India on an advantageous position after they declared their second innings at 258/2 with a lead of 512 runs on Day 3 of the first Test against Bangladesh at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium here on Friday.

In reply, Bangladeshi young opening duo did well to negotiate the tricky 12 overs phase without much trouble on a pitch that had fizzled out. This should give some hope to the hosts for the next two days when they resume Day 4 from 42/0.

But today all the limelight was hogged by India, especially Shubman and Pujara. They made merry out of the Bangladesh bowlers with aplomb after skipper KL Rahul departed after scoring 23.

Shubman was at his fluent best and fittingly got his maiden Test century while Pujara got his 19th Test century after 51 innings with a flamboyant knock of his own.

It was a treat to watch Pujara as cricket fans witnessed the vintage No.3 batsman on song fiercely stepping out to loft spinners down the ground and over the fielders.

Pujara showed it is not lack of shot-making he has in his books, but does the dirt work every time he comes in to bat, and most of the time India are in a spot of bother.

But today, India was in a commanding position and Pujara grabbed the opportunity to showcase his litany of stroke-making, scoring an unbeaten 102 in just 130 balls.

Pujara and Shubman’s marathon stand of 113 for second wicket nullified any minor hope Bangladesh would have had of triggering a collapse of sorts. The duo paddled the score at a brisk pace in the last two hours which left the hosts with a Mount Everest to climb.

Shubnam had a slice of luck when he survived LBW appeal. When Bangladeshi skipper Shakib Al Hasan saw the ball off Yasir Ali hitting the poles, he used the DRS, but unfortunately the third umpire informed the field umpire about the technical glitch the DRS camera faced, and the decision went in the batsman’s favour.

Earlier, India took about an hour’s time to pick the last two wickets of the overnight Bangladeshi batsmen.

The impressive left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav bagged his third Test fifer and Axar Patel capped off the innings by removing Mehidy Hasan Mirza for 25.

Another 471 runs remain and six sessions for Bangladesh to bat on. Though Chattogram witnessed a record-breaking run chase scripted by West Indies last year, Bangladesh will be focusing on surviving for now.

As for India, they have to be patient on the slowing track with a mountain of runs to stake their claim.

Brief scores: India 404 (Cheteshwar Pujara 90, Shreyas Iyer 86, R Ashwin 58; Taijul Islam 4-133, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 4-113) and 258/2 decl (Shubman Gill 110, *) lead Bangladesh 150 (Mushfiqur Rahim 28; Kuldeep Yadav 5-40, Mohammad Siraj 3-20) and 42/0 by 471 runs.

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