A Test match of habits

A double century by Virat Kohli, a promising performance by Bangladesh in their first innings and the Indian bowlers taking 20 wickets – a few habits that have stayed true over the past few months for both teams. After being deprived of a Test match in India for over a decade and a half, Bangladesh came to India with a point to prove, that they are a formidable Test team an opposition can’t take lightly. The very fact that the match almost lasted the entire duration is testament to Bangladesh's gutsy performance, notwithstanding a friendly surface. Bangladesh lost the match in the end, but they made the number 1 ranked Test side work for this victory – and some credit is due their way.

Virat Kohli put all the questions around the playing XI to rest on Day 1, when he picked Ajinkya Rahane ahead of Karun Nair and opted to play 3 seamers to complement Ashwin & Jadeja. Day 1 was a run-fest for the Indian batsmen who made good use of a pitch, perfect for batting. While the Bangladesh bowlers did well in patches, Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli went on to score fluent centuries.

Day 2 saw a few records being broken! Kohli kept weaving his bat like a magic wand, going on to score yet another double century. He became the first batsman to score 4 double tons in consecutive Test series, bettering the likes of Bradman and Dravid who managed 3. India went on to secure their 3rd successive 600+ score, another world record, on the back of Wriddhiman Saha’s century and Jadeja’s quick-fire 60.

When Bangladesh’s turn to bat arrived, their top-order was shaky, leaving the middle-order a lot of rebuilding to do. Once again, the likes of Shakib Al Hasan & Mushfiqur Rahim had to shoulder the responsibility of holding the innings together. Their century stand got the innings back on track for a while, but 687 was a bridge too far for any team batting in Indian conditions. As the pitch showed signs of turn on Day 4, Rahim completed a well-deserved century amidst some testing short-pitched bowling, most notably from Umesh Yadav.

The Indians managed to bowl Bangladesh out on the stroke of lunch and the follow-on wasn’t enforced. The last wicket, which was claimed by Ravichandran Ashwin, was his 250th – thus becoming the fastest bowler to the landmark. He took 45 Tests to get there, three quicker than Dennis Lillee’s 48! In an attempt to score some quick runs, India lost their openers early, but Pujara & Kohli kept the scoreboard ticking at a fair clip. The innings was declared by Tea, leaving Bangladesh a mammoth 459 runs to chase down, in 4 sessions.

The Indian bowlers dismantled Bangladesh’s top-order before stumps on Day 4, leaving them with an arduous task on Day 5. Pushing for victory on the final day, India got Shakib & Mushfiqur, the mainstays of the Bangladesh batting, in the first session itself, making an already tough task, much more difficult. A combination of fruitful spells by Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja ensured that wickets fell at regular intervals, giving India a comfortable victory eventually. The number 1 ranked Test team took their unbeaten streak to 19 matches, inching closer to Australia, England & West Indies’ streaks. Bangladesh, on the other hand, lived up to their reputation of performing well in patches. They have done better than other teams who have visited India recently as they proved that they are not a team to easily succumb to a strong Indian team at home.

Stats/Trivia

⦁ 19 – Longest unbeaten Test-match streak by an Indian team.
⦁ 8 – Consecutive international series wins by Kohli, the most by an Indian skipper.
⦁ 6 – Back-to-back Test series wins for India – their longest such streak.


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