India 314 (Pant 93, Iyer 87, Taijul 4-74, Shakib 4-79) and 145/7 (Ashwin 42*, Akshar 34, Mehdi 5-63) Bangladesh 227 (Mominul 84, Umesh 4-25, Ashwin 4-71) and 231 (Litton 73, Zakir 51, Akshar 3-68) by seven wickets
India consolidated their second position in the WTC table with a 2–0 series win and are coming off a four-Test series at home against Australia, of which they can only lose one game to not finish last.
India were 74 for 7 in the first hour, 71 runs short of the target when Iyer and Ashwin came together. Iyer used his straight bat to play the spinners patiently and Ashwin in particular used a low stance to bowl low bounce against Mehidy as the Bangladesh spinner stuck to the stump-to-stump line which cost him three wickets in the morning. Got wickets.
Mehidy created a chance even when Ashwin was on 1 and India were 80 when Ashwin gloved the ball to short leg where Mominul Haque took a direct chance. As Bangladesh made India pay for the chances dropped on Saturday, Ashwin cashed in on his life and picked up regular boundaries once they got into double digits. He ended things by collecting two in one over from Khaled Ahmed and 16 off Mehidy’s over, which started with a first ball six over midwicket and ended with back-to-back fours, taking Ashwin for 62. Scored 42 not out while Iyer was on 29 at the other end.
Bangladesh raced to an early advantage in a dramatic first hour that saw few boundaries, several appeals, two reviews and three wickets.
Jaydev Unadkat survived a very minor LBW call on the third ball of the day and Bangladesh’s review showed that the ball had just clipped leg stump, which was not enough to overturn an on-field decision. Unadkat hit a six over midwicket the very next ball, but in the very next over, Shakib Al Hasan slipped sharply to trap him on the back foot and Unadkat wasted a review.
Mehdi removed two left-handed batsmen in consecutive overs for his eighth Test five-wicket haul. Rishabh Pant, at No.7, pulled off a quick reverse sweep for four against Shakib, but looked too nervous to get out too many times against spinners or go dangerously on the backfoot against sharp turn. Mahedi bowled him on the stump line for the fourth consecutive time from around the wicket and bowled a decently short pitch to trap Pant on the backfoot for 9.
Shakib replaced himself with Taijul Islam to keep the threat of left-arm spin away from one end and Iyer and Ashwin kept their bats close to the pads and patiently blocked the ball in a 67-ball boundary-less spell. Leaned forward. With two right-handed batsmen now, except for the life Ashwin got, Mehidy’s magic didn’t seem so invincible anymore. Iyer hit his first boundary off his 29th ball when Mehdi pitched a wide and then proceeded to inside out Shakib for a powerful cover drive and followed it up with two more boundaries to take India past 100 in quick succession and changed the speed.
When India were 34 away, Shakib brought the momentum for the first time in the day. After eating a boundary down the leg side, Khaled Ahmed almost had a chance with a thick edge from Ashwin past the diving gully fielder but that too went for a boundary. Taijul came back, Mehidy tried to move around the wicket and Bangladesh hoped that perhaps the lack of bounce would give them an opening, but nothing worked.
Ashwin scored a quickfire 31 off the last 34, studded with four fours and a six, to keep Bangladesh in the hunt for their maiden Test win against India.
Vishal Dixit is assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo