Bangladesh 7 for 227 and 0 Trail India 314 (Pant 93, Iyer 87, Taijul 4-74, Shakib 4-79) by 80 runs
Pant scored 93 off 104 balls – his sixth victim in the 90s with five Test hundreds. He is now the only batsman with at least five centuries to have scored more than ninety centuries. Iyer himself, running at a strike rate of 82.85, got out in the 80s for the second time in this series. Together they added 159 runs in 30.2 overs by scoring 94 runs for 4 wickets.
Not all of India’s top three, however, lost to Taijul. He was impeccable with his lengths, pulling them forward without attacking. The pitch was at its best on the first day and is working now. So the batsmen didn’t trust it to take risks.
Skipper KL Rahul fell in a strange fashion, practically lying at the crease despite the fall of the wicket. Shubman Gill started the first evening fluently but could only add six to his score in the first seven overs of the day. In the eighth, Gill, the only batsman in India’s top four who regularly sweeps, picked the wrong ball to go down: full and straight, no review needed.
By now Pant had started making fielders redundant. He hit five sixes, hitting a boundary rider on each occasion. With two of these sixes, he swung so hard that the bat slipped out of the bottom hand on contact. If you thought it was a fluke, think again: of the 103 balls he faced, he didn’t have control on only 11; Only Kohli had a better control percentage among India’s batsmen. He also hit sixes off Mehdi’s offspin, apparently getting too close to the pitch of the ball to gain the required height, but providing enough power to clear the ground on a flat trajectory.
Iyer was the quiet fellow, but not much. Bangladesh tried to toss him, but he clung to the freedom. Against spin, he was as ruthless as Pant, especially when going deep into the crease to play back-foot shots. He was also good at sweeping, but eventually picked a straight ball from Shakib and was bowled low. Shakib and Taijul then took the last three wickets for 43 runs.
The Bangladesh openers lasted the six overs that were possible before stumps.