India win Pink ball Test; Wrap up series 2-0
2nd Test, ICC World Test Championship at Kolkata, Nov 22-24, 2019
Bangladesh 106 & 195 India 347/9 declared – India won by an innings and 46 runs
Amidst great fanfare and festivities across the nation, the first Pink ball Test match to played on Indian soil got underway in front of a rapturous 80000-strong crowd Eden Gardens, Kolkata. In a first of its kind in the country, the Kolkata Test was a day/night affair. The pink ball indeed did a lot of talking itself as demonstrated by Indian pacemen Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami. Yadav quickly dismissed frontline batsmen Mominul Haque and Mohammad Mithun, while Sharma removed Imrul Kayes and Mahmudullah. Shami bowled the visitors’ best batsmen Mushfiqur Rahim for a duck. All these batsmen failed to reach double figures leaving Bangladesh tottering at 38 for 5. Shadman Islam (29) and Liton Das tried to put up some sort of resistance before Das had to retire hurt after being struck on the head by a Shami bouncer when he was on 24. The Tigers simply collapsed from a score of 73 for 5 to 106 all out with Ishant Sharma cleaning up the tail-enders and ending up with his best figures on domestic soil of 5-22. Umesh Yadav and Shami finished with figures of 3-39 and 2-36.
India lost their openers cheaply with Mayank Agarwal (14) and Rohit Sharma (21) not being able to read the movement of the pink ball in twilight conditions. But Cheteswar Pujara and Virat Kohli did not seem to have any such problems and stitched together a 94-run partnership before the former was out for 55 with the score reading a much better 137 for 3. Ajinkya Rahane (23 not out) and Virat Kohli (59 not out) took India to a commanding 3 for 174 by close of Day 1.
India carried off where they had left on Day 2 with Virat Kohli reaching his 27th Test career hundred in 84 games in the long format (the fastest by any Indian). The Indian skipper’s 136 was dotted with 18 hits to the fence and came of 194 deliveries. Kohli got good support from Ajinkya Rahane whose 51 came rather quickly (from 69 balls) and had seven hits to the boundary. The hosts who were at one stage 4 for 289 couldn’t mount a huge score as they frequently have been doing of late and had to be content with a score of 347 for 9 declared as their last five wickets fell rather quickly. For Bangladesh, Al-Amin Hossain (3-85), Ebadat Hossain (3-91) and Abu Jayed (2-77) were those among the wickets although it cost them quite a few runs.
Bangladesh, behind by 241 runs, commenced their 2nd innings on a disastrous note as Ishant Sharma ran through their top order. The lanky fast bowler dismissed three of the first four wickets that fell with the scoreboard reading just 13. But Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah batted with a lot of gumption before the latter had to leave the crease injured. Mushfiqur remained not out on 59 at the end of Day 2 as Bangla recovered to a much respectable 152-6 and things would have been much better had Mahmudullah not retired hurt.
It took India only 47 minutes on Day 3 to wrap up the remaining four wickets and record their fourth straight win by an innings. Mushfiqur couldn’t add much to his overnight score as Umesh Yadav scalped him for 74. The Tiger’s prime batsman’s innings was brilliant under the circumstances, coming off only 96 balls and laced with 13 hits to the fence. Apart from that, Mahmadullah’s contribution of 39 was the only score of note. Even some lusty tail-end batting from No.10 Al-Amin Hossain (21 off 20 balls, 5 fours) couldn’t prevent Bangladesh from getting bowled out for 195, their third score below 200 from four innings in the Series. For India, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma were the chief destructors once again with figures of 5-53 and 4-56 respectively.
At 968 balls, this was the shortest Test with an outright result in India, beating the 1028 balls against Afghanistan last year. The win took India’s winning streak to their longest: seven. The most incredible statistic, though, was that the Pink ball Test was India’s first home Test win without a single wicket from a spinner.