The fielder at mid-off jogged to the boundary to fetch the ball. As he made his way back after an underarm toss, he caught the bowler's eye. Umesh Yadav was told by Harbhajan Singh to stay put. Imrul Kayes had not reached the pitch of a loopy offspinner but having committed to the stroke, he had little choice. Harbhajan, though, did.

He could have kept the field up and tempted the batsman again. The top wicket-taker among all currently active bowlers would have smirked at Imrul and said 'do it again, I dare you.' However, the man returning to international cricket after missing 88 games preferred a safety blanket.

India already have an established offspinner. The Test in Fatullah may be Harbhajan's only chance to sway the selectors to keep him in the XI going forward. And rain likened the odds of him finding rhythm to locating a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Against a batting line-up resting on a core of left-handers, having an extra offspinner made sense. Would the selectors imagine this Harbhajan making sense against Hashim Amla or AB de Villiers or Kumar Sangakkara or Angelo Mathews? Or would it be more prudent to select a legspinner or a left-arm spinner instead with R Ashwin bowling beautifully.

Karn Sharma is in this squad. Amit Mishra is in the fringes. Can't go wrong with Ravindra Jadeja in the subcontinent. A balanced attack is vital in Tests. So Harbhajan's best, and only, chance was to persuade the observers to remember another basic rule: pick your best bowlers. He could not get over that pressure.

There were nervy deliveries - like his sixth that was short and wide and was cracked for four. Even as he began tossing the ball up, the early anxiety didn't fade. That flatter ball was always around the corner.

Over his last 25 Tests, spread across five years, Harbhajan has struck every 79.5 balls to take 90 wickets at 38.15. He missed 33 of India's matches then. Compare that with his best period - 25 Tests crunched between January 2001 and December 2002 because he was a certainty in the side - when he struck every 56.8 balls to take 123 wickets at 24.55.

India tried to coax that Harbhajan out. Virat Kohli ensured all his overs were from the Press Box end, with the wind helping him turn the ball away from left-handers. Slip, silly point, short cover and gully bugged the batsman.

Both offspinners were rotated at the same end until the 24th over. Then Ashwin came on from the Pavilion end and could still generate extra bounce and quick turn. Harbhajan was stuck trying to land six balls in the same area before gaining the confidence to experiment.

There was one moment of relief though. For Mominul Haque, mid-off was fastened inside the circle. The batsman charged, the ball dipped, the slog came and Umesh took the catch off the bottom edge. Harbhajan had just found the rainbow, slid down into that pot of gold and nicked a lovely little gem. Mominul has been Bangladesh's most productive batsman since he debuted in March 2013 - 1380 runs at an average of 60 - and he was deceived in flight.

Harbhajan couldn't retrace his steps thereafter. He needed more time. He had bowled only seven of the 30.1 overs possible for 23 runs and a wicket. Far too small a sample to decide one way or another. He would prefer a nice, long spell to get into the groove tomorrow. But there are showers forecast from sunrise to sunset.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo