Bangladesh’s young openers Najmul Hossain Shanto and Zakir Hasan took the hosts to 42/0 at stumps on day three after Shubman Gill slammed his first Test hundred and Cheteshwar Pujara hit his first century in 52 innings for India to set a target of 513 in the first Test at Chattogram on Friday.
After Kuldeep Yadav’s third five-wicket haul in his eighth Test helped India bowl out Bangladesh for 150 in the first innings, Gill hit a quick 110 while Pujara smashed 102 not out, his fastest-ever hundred in Test cricket and first since January 2019, as the visitors declared their second innings at 258/2.
Resuming the day from 133/8, India had a breakthrough when Kuldeep got one to spin past Ebadot Hossain’s flick and took the faint edge behind to Rishabh Pant, who completed a sharp catch down the leg to complete his fifer.
Seven overs later, Mehidy Hasan Miraz was stumped by Pant off Axar Patel to end Bangladesh’s innings, where only two batters Mehidy and Mushfiqur Rahim – were able to bat for more than 50 deliveries, giving India a lead of 254 runs.
In the second innings, K.L Rahul got off the mark with a beautiful drive through cover off Khaled Ahmed. Gill was troubled by left-arm spinner Taijul Islam and was even trapped lbw off him, but wasn’t dismissed as review showed ball missing leg-stump.
As Gill continued to be more watchful, Rahul got some loose deliveries off Mehidy Hasan Miraz in the final over before lunch, leaning into a drive on a full and wide delivery through backward point while cutting through the same region on backfoot as the duo made 36 in first 15 overs.
Bangladesh missed the services of Ebadot, who didn’t take the field due to back spasms while captain Shakib Al Hasan did not bowl due to niggles around his and shoulder, leaving the hosts’ with just three main bowling options.
Post lunch, Gill looked different, slashing, sweeping with authority, glancing gently off his and then brought out his trademark short-arm jab to collect four boundaries. When Mehidy gave some flight, Gill was quick to dance down the pitch and lean into the drive through cover.
Bangladesh’s short ball ploy to Rahul worked when the Indian skipper pulled straight to the fielder in the deep off Khaled. Gill had luck on his side when a sharp turner from Mehidy trapped him lbw, and Bangladesh burnt a review as on-field call of not out stayed. On the very next ball, Gill came out to whip Mehidy through mid-wicket, followed by bringing up his fifty and sweeping to collect another cracking boundary.
Against a harmless short ball from Khaled, Gill nailed the pull for six and swept against Taijul for four. On the other hand, Pujara was able to take time and get going with punch and pull off Mehidy and Khaled.
Gill had a scare on 70 when Bangladesh asked for DRS after on-field umpire turned down lbw appeal. But the DRS was not available due to technical issues and the on-field decision stayed. Pujara increased Yasir’s agony by bringing out a pull and on-drive to take a brace of boundaries just before the tea break.
After tea, Gill danced down the pitch to hit Litton Das for a huge six over long-on. He then brought out reverse-sweep against Mehidy for a boundary, before coming down the pitch and lofting the off-spinner over mid-on to get his hundred in 147 balls.
In Mehidy’s next over, Gill would dance down the pitch and loft over long-on for six. But in a bid to get another six, he holed out to deep mid-wicket. Pujara took charge from there, completing his fifty in 86 balls and used his feet beautifully, and constantly to flick, paddle-sweep, sweep, punch and loft over mid-on and mid-off against spinners.
After pulling Yasir through fine leg, Pujara broke his Test century drought by dancing down the pitch again to whip past a misfielding mid-on off Taijul for a boundary, in a knock in which his last 52 runs came in just 43 balls as India immediately declared their innings.
Chasing 513, Shanto and Zakir did well to negotiate the tricky 12-over phase without much trouble, especially under fading light. There was some turn available for the Indian bowlers, but with the pitch slowing down considerably, the visitors will have to work hard for the next two days as Bangladesh are still behind by 471 runs with two full days left in the match.
Brief scores: India 404 in 133.5 overs and 258/2 declared in 61.4 overs (Shubman Gill 110, Cheteshwar Pujara 102 not out; Khaled Ahmed 1-51, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 1-82) lead Bangladesh 150 all out in 55.5 overs (Mushfiqur Rahim 28; Kuldeep Yadav 5-40) and 42 for no loss in 12 overs (Najmul Hossain Shanto batting 25, Zakir Hussain batting 17) by 512 runs