Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India would have been cursing the bad weather throughout the one-off Test against Bangladesh in Fatullah as they fell down to fourth on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test team rankings since the match ended as a draw.
While the rain did not stay away on the fifth day, both teams were able to get out onto the pitch, where play resumed with Bangladesh on 111/3.
India began the final day on a high as spinner Ravichandran Ashwin ripped through Bangladesh’s middle order before debutant Litton Das and Soumya Sarkar halted their charge with scores of 44 and 37 respectively.
But, once Sarkar and Das were dismissed, Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh, who was making his Test comeback, mopped up the tail to dismiss Bangladesh for 256, which gave them a 206-run lead.
Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers with five wickets, while Singh took three and Aaron claimed one.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
With a 206-run lead in hand, India skipper Virat Kohi had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on. But, with the constant rain interruptions, Bangladesh managed to get to 23/0 before both captains agreed to end the match as a draw.
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim was disappointed that bad weather kept halting the one-off Test, and said: “When it rains so much, it’s very difficult to control, but credit goes to the groundsmen, they did a really good job. It can be debated, but we thought on that wicket there would be nothing for the quicks, and we don’t have anyone who can bowl 145-plus. I thought our bowlers did a good job even though it was a flat track on days one and two.
“You’d love to have big scores like Shikhar and Murali Vijay and Rahane did, but when Ashwin is bowling that well it becomes difficult. The [ODI] squad is looking pretty good, but it’s a strong Indian side. We played well against Pakistan, so hopefully we will get confidence from that.”
Like Rahim, Kohli was irritated that the rain refused to relent throughout the five days, and said: “We had a really good time with the bat, especially Vijay, Shikhar, Rahane. It was a selfless performance, to score quickly, knowing we won’t have too much time because of the rain. Disappointing for both teams, we would have liked to have a full five days of cricket. Whatever time we had on the field the boys had top intensity and put in a really good effort.
“[Ashwin and Harbhajan] are quality spinners, so watching them both bowl together is very pleasing for a captain. They put batsmen under pressure throughout. I’m very pleased as a skipper, because it’s very easy to go off the field and come on and not have intensity. The wicket played exactly the way we expected it to play. We thought if there was no rain around, it would reverse and we could use our pace bowlers in the middle and give the spinners some rest.
“The combination was right as far as we were concerned, but the conditions were in no one’s control. [Bangladesh] have shown they are a really talented side, especially in one-day cricket they are right up there. In Test matches as well, they want to be up there. They have been stepping up on the biggest stages, including the World Cup. That shows the potential and hard work they have with their cricket and I wish them well.”
India opener Shikhar Dhawan was named Man of the Match for scoring 173, and said: “I really enjoyed my batting. The wicket was nice and batting-friendly. Vijay played a great knock and Rahane played a great knock after us. You feel very stable when [Vijay] is at the other end and playing according to the merit of the ball. If the rain happens, then I just go off the field, and once I come back, it takes a few balls to get it back. I don’t think too much about the rain, otherwise it will affect your concentration.”