India in command after making 540
Bangladesh 54 for 3 trail India 540 (Dravid 160, Gambhir 139, Ganguly 88, Rafique 4-156) by 486 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The second day of the Chittagong Test exemplified not only what Bangladesh could achieve with application, but also how they let situations slip through their grasp. At the end of it, India, dismissed for 540, were in firm control, but had to put up with stiff Bangladeshi resistance for most of the day. After removing five batsmen in the morning, Bangladesh were held up by Sourav Ganguly and the Indian tail in the second session. Then, after tea, Bangladesh protected their wickets stoutly on a pitch becoming increasingly difficult to bat on, but lost three wickets in the final overs to end on 54 for 3.
Mashrafe Mortaza and Mohammad Rafique bowled with intelligence before lunch. They removed most of the middle order, including Sachin Tendulkar with the first ball of the day. After doing most of the work, they allowed Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh to add 128 runs with Ganguly. Bangladesh then survived for nearly an entire session before the spinners breached their defences. Though defeat appeared inevitable, it was satisfying to see Bangladesh finally put up a fight.
Mortaza had set the tone for his team's defiance with the first ball, bringing it in to trap Tendulkar for 36. He then removed Rahul Dravid for 160 with one that lifted and kissed the edge of the bat en route to the wicketkeeper. Not long after, VVS Laxman was outsmarted by Rafique, and patted a delivery back to him. Then Dinesh Karthik and Irfan Pathan took liberties with his left-arm spin and paid a price.
After lunch, the bowlers slackened and frittered away their advantage. Ganguly added 53 with Kumble, and then rotated the strike as Harbhajan took toll of the bowlers. The ball was repeatedly smashed to the fence, and at times over it, as 75 runs came in 11 manic overs. Ganguly, 12 short of a hundred, then unsuccessfully tried to clear the long-on fence (540 for 9). His last century was a rousing 144 at Brisbane in December a year ago.
Just as it seemed that Bangladesh were going through the motions once again, they returned to the crease and showed the backbone they missed sorely in Dhaka. Nafis Iqbal and Javed Omar survived testing spells from the new-ball attack. Irfan Pathan often appeared close to breaking through, but found the openers unshakable. Zaheer Khan was also unsuccessful in his attempt to rattle them. Only when the spinners came on did cracks appear.
Kumble made the ball fizz off the strip and left the batsmen groping. To counter the variable bounce, the openers played him off the front foot. It did not do them much good. One delivery caught the edge of Iqbal's bat but was put down by the wicketkeeper. Omar pushed at another that turned and flew to Dravid at slip (48 for 1). He had faced 78 balls for his 10. Mortaza, sent in as night-watchman, then padded up to a straight one and Iqbal, after defying India 91 balls for his 31, gloved a turner by Harbhajan to Gautam Gambhir at short leg (54 for 3).
Bangladesh had fought bravely, but simply did not have the resources to counter India's firepower on a wearing track.
Rahul Bhatia is on the staff of Cricinfo.