Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
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India 314 (Pant 93, Iyer 87, Taijul 4-74, Shakib 4-79) and 145 for 7 (Ashwin 42*, Axar 34, Mehidy 5-63) beat Bangladesh 227 (Mominul 84, Umesh 4-25, Ashwin 4-71) and 231 (Litton 73, Zakir 51, Axar 3-68) by three wickets
A fighting and defiant half-century stand between No. 8 Shreyas Iyer and R Ashwin saved India from a lower-order collapse and led them to a thin three-wicket win on a turning and low pitch on the fourth morning in Dhaka. Resuming on 45 for 4, India needed 100 more to win and Bangladesh six wickets. Mehidy Hasan Miraz's five-for gave the hosts a big chance with quick wickets in the first half hour before Ashwin and Iyer used patience, accounted for the low bounce and also scored at a good clip - at over four an over - to take India over the line before the scheduled lunch break.
India strengthened their second spot on the WTC table with the 2-0 series win and have a four-Test series coming up at home against Australia, of which they can afford to lose only one game to not lose out on the final spot.
India were in deep trouble in the first hour at 74 for 7, still 71 adrift from the target, when Iyer and Ashwin came together. Iyer used his straight bat to play out the spinners patiently and Ashwin used a low stance for the low bounce especially against Mehidy as the Bangladesh spinners stuck to a stump-to-stump line that had fetched them three wickets in the morning.
Mehidy even created a chance when Ashwin was on 1 and India on 80, when Ashwin gloved the ball to short leg where Mominul Haque put down a straightforward chance. Just like Bangladesh made India pay for the dropped chances on Saturday, Ashwin cashed in on the life he got and picked up regular boundaries once he moved into double-digits. He collected two in an over off Khaled Ahmed and finished things off in a 16-run over off Mehidy which started with a first-ball six over midwicket and ended with back-to-back fours, taking Ashwin to an unbeaten 42 off 62 while Iyer was on 29 at the other end.
Bangladesh had raced ahead with an early advantage in a dramatic first hour that saw a few boundaries, numerous appeals, two reviews, and three wickets.
Jaydev Unadkat survived a very marginal lbw call on the third ball of the day and Bangladesh's review showed the ball was just hitting leg stump, which wasn't enough to overturn the on-field decision. Unadkat slog-swept the very next ball for six over midwicket but fell in the next over when Shakib Al Hasan slipped in a quick one from around the wicket to trap him right in front on the back foot and Unadkat wasted a review.
Mehidy then removed two left-hand batters in consecutive overs for his eighth Test five-for. Rishabh Pant, at No. 7, unleashed a reverse sweep early on against Shakib for four but also looked nervous while either stepping out too often against the spinners or going on the back foot dangerously against sharp turn. Mehidy bowled on the fourth stump line consistently to him from around the wicket and pitched one marginally shorter to trap Pant on the back foot for 9.
Seventy-one for 6 quickly became 74 for 7. Axar Patel carried on from his overnight 26 with regular strokes to keep the score ticking whenever he got width or length to work with. But he also became a victim of Mehidy's stifling line and flat trajectory when a grubber deflected off his pads on the back foot and hit the stumps to send him back for 34.
Shakib replaced himself with Taijul Islam to keep the left-arm spin threat going from one end and Iyer and Ashwin kept their bats close to pads and leaned forward to block the ball patiently in a boundary-less spell of 67 balls. With two right-hand batters on now, Mehidy's magic didn't look as unplayable now, barring the life Ashwin got. Iyer hit his first four on his 29th ball when Mehidy pitched one wide and then stepped out to drive Shakib inside out for a powerful cover drive followed by a pull for two more fours to quickly take India past 100 and switch the momentum.
When India were 34 away, Shakib brought on pace for the first time in the day. After conceding a four down the leg side, Khaled Ahmed nearly created a chance with Ashwin's thick edge past a diving gully fielder but that also went for four. Taijul came back on, Mehidy tried going around the wicket and Bangladesh hoped maybe lack of bounce would get them an opening, but nothing worked.
Ashwin quickly scored 31 off the last 34 runs with the help of four fours and a six and kept Bangladesh still searching for their first Test win against India.
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