Karthik promises consistency

Dinesh Karthik, India's opener and one of the top four who scored a century in the first innings against Bangladesh, is hoping that his maiden century will silence critics who have dismissed his capabilities as an opener.

Speaking after his fine effort of two parts, Karthik, who dedicated the innings to his family and newly married wife, said that he will now strive for consistency. "That can be done if I work a lot on my batting in terms of footwork, in terms of mindset. And I am always trying to do that.

"What is very important is that I am trying to transform my batting from one-day cricket to Test cricket. And I am happy at the way things are going on."

Karthik said the stifling conditions and a running temperature didn't make his work any easier. "I am trying my best to become a very good opener. I have been always trying to do that. It was tough because conditions were really hard and I was running a bit of a temperature. Probably I could feel the cramps in my hamstring.

"But I told myself to keep playing as I was very close to my hundred. It is important as it is my first hundred and I am happy about it." Karthik was asked to open for India with Wasim Jaffer as Virendar Sehwag, India's regular opener, was dropped for the series. In the drawn first Test, Karthik scored 56 and 22 while Jaffer bagged a pair.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Ashraful, the hosts' vice-captain, was left to fend off questions about Bangladesh's calamitous decision to field first upon winning the toss. India declared on 610 for three after being put in yesterday.

But after struggling for an answer, Ashraful would say only that "It was a team decision, I cannot say anything more on this.

"We saw Indian team take five bowlers. We thought that moisture would remain on the surface and we could use it. So we took the decision."

But he rejected suggestions that this was one of the most disappointing days of cricket for Bangladesh, as the side slumped to 58 for five. And he held out hope for saving the Test. "Tough, but we will try. It's Test cricket. They used the new ball very well, adjusted to the conditions very well. These things can happen in Test cricket. There will be some effect on the players. But we are professionals and should not be affected for long."