A gritty 90 from veteran Cheteshwar Pujara helped India finish the opening day of the first test in Chattogram at 278/6. The visitors were reduced to 48/3 early in their innings with skipper KL Rahul, Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli all back in the pavillion, but Pujara held the innings together, first in the company of the swashbuckling Rishabh Pant and then with Shreyas Iyer. Here are our talking points from the day’s action.
Debut for Zakir Hasan
Young Zakir Hasan was rewarded for his fine recent performances with Bangladesh A- he made 173 in Cox’s Bazar to save a test against India A, with the hosts giving him a debut here. But was axing veteran Mominul Haque on this ground the right decision? His poor recent form elsewhere aside, Mominul averages a whopping 60+ in Chattogram and has scored seven centuries at this venue.
Pujara stars for India
A couple of years ago, there was talk about India doing away with the veteran duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. While Rahane was eventually dropped, Pujara managed to keep his place and again showed his worth here with a fine 90 that held the Indian innings together.
With India only playing six batsmen, the veteran’s partnerships with Pant and Iyer took the visitors from 48/3 to to 261/5 and prevented what could easily have been a collapse on day 1 of a series that is crucial to India’s WTC hopes.
Crucial toss to win
It’s only day one, but this Chattogram pitch has already shown signs of turn and the ball keeping low. KL Rahul won the toss and chose to bat, and even his opposite number Shakib Al Hasan admitted that he would’ve preferred to take first guard here too.
This wicket isn’t the belter many expected it to be, and chasing in the fourth innings could prove quite tricky, especially with India having three spinners in their ranks. It also explains why local sportsbooks have the visitors as favourites to win the test- check here for the current odds.
Dropped catches hurt Bangladesh
The hosts could’ve had Pujara out on 12, but Nurul Hasan dropped one behind the wickets. Later in the innings, Shreyas Iyer hit one straight down the throat of deep mid wicket, but Ebadot Hossain dropped a sitter on the boundary. Pujara’s drop costed Bangladesh 78 runs, and Iyer is still batting on 82. If India get to around 350, Bangladesh will be left ruing what could’ve been. Iyer also had another slice of luck when he was bowled- the stumps lit up, but the bails didn’t get dislodged!
Taijul toils tirelessly
With skipper Shakib nursing a rib injury picked up in the second ODI, most of the spin burden fell on the shoulders of Taijul Islam, who sent down a third of Bangaldesh’s 90 overs on the day (30-8-84-3). Apart from Shubman Gill, he also accounted for both Kohli and Pujara with beauties- the former LBW and the latter clean bowled.