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RESULT
2nd Test, Mirpur, December 22 - 25, 2022, India tour of Bangladesh
PrevNext
227 & 231
(T:145) 314 & 145/7

India won by 3 wickets

Player Of The Match
4/71, 2/66 & 42*
ravichandran-ashwin
Player Of The Series
222 runs
cheteshwar-pujara
Report

Pant 93, Iyer 87 help India wrest back control

Taijul and Shakib took four wickets each for Bangladesh, who lost their grip on the game after reducing India to 94 for 4

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
23-Dec-2022
Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer put on 159 off just 182 balls  •  AFP/Getty Images

Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer put on 159 off just 182 balls  •  AFP/Getty Images

Bangladesh 227 and 7 for 0 trail India 314 (Pant 93, Iyer 87, Taijul 4-74, Shakib 4-79) by 80 runs
Bangladesh took three wickets for 67 runs in the first session of day two and six wickets for 88 in the final session. These were encouraging passages of play given that they were defending 227 on a spinners' pitch, but in the middle session, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer wreaked havoc. India scored 140 for the loss of just one wicket between lunch and tea, which enabled them to take an 87-run first-innings lead on a deteriorating pitch.
Pant scored 93 off 104 - his sixth dismissal in the 90s to go with five Test hundreds. He is now the only batter among those with at least five hundreds to score more nineties than hundreds. Iyer, himself going at a strike-rate of 82.85, fell in the 80s for the second time in this series. The two added 159 runs in 30.2 overs after coming together at 94 for 4.
It was a familiar sight. Pant walked out after Bangladesh had taken three early wickets with excellent bowling, but the fielding side was already retreating. It was 48 for 3 in Chattogram and 72 for 3 here, and both times Pant started his innings with a long-on and deep midwicket in place. Bangladesh's best bowler in these conditions, Taijul Islam, was in operation, but he immediately ceased to look like a threat.
Not to India's top three, though, who all fell to Taijul. He was immaculate with his lengths, drawing them forward without letting them attack. The pitch had been at its best on day one, and was doing things now. So the batters didn't quite trust it to take the risks.
Captain KL Rahul fell in an awkward fashion, practically caught on the crease despite shimmying down the wicket. Shubman Gill started fluently on the first evening, but managed to add only six to his score in the first seven overs of the day. In the eighth, Gill, the only batter in India's top four who sweeps regularly, chose the wrong ball to go down to: full and straight, no need for a review.
By now Pant started making fielders look redundant. He hit five sixes, clearing a boundary rider on each occasion. With two of these sixes, he swung so hard the bat slipped out of the bottom hand upon contact. If you think it was a chancy counterattack, think again: he was not in control of only 11 of the 103 balls he faced; only Kohli had a better control percentage among India's batters. He hit sixes off Mehidy's offspin too, apparently getting too close to the pitch of the ball to get the required elevation, but imparting enough power to still clear the ground at a flat trajectory.
Pant has now hit 55 sixes in Test cricket, the joint-seventh-most by an India batter. However, post-tea, resuming on 86, he stopped looking for sixes. Perhaps it had something to do with his five previous dismissals in the 90s. The watchful approach didn't quite work as he fell going on the back foot to Mehidy for the second time this series. It was the inside edge last time, the outside edge here.
Iyer was the quieter partner, but not by much. Bangladesh tried to bounce him, but he hooked with freedom. Against spin he was just as brutal as Pant, especially when going deep in the crease and manufacturing back-foot shots. He was good at the sweep too, but eventually chose one straight ball from Shakib and was done in by low bounce. Shakib and Taijul then took the last three wickets for 43 runs.
Bangladesh's openers survived the six overs that were possible before stumps.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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ICC World Test Championship
TEAMMWLDPTPCT
AUS15101413675.56
IND148429958.93
SL105416453.33
SA136617648.72
ENG22108412446.97
WI114525440.91
PAK144646438.10
NZ112633627.27
BAN1211011611.11