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India has set up the Mirpur Test for a third day finish and catch the earliest possible flight back home. On the second day’s play, India piled up as many as 390 runs to set up things for an innings victory with the lead at 226. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid made most of the day’s play scoring centuries.
The opening pair of Sehwag and Gambhir had started the morning taking their partnership and the team’s score past 100. In the 20th over, Virender Sehwag (56 from 63 balls with 8 fours) was taken aback by a surprise bouncer from Shahadat that forced him to fend it to the Keeper.
Gautam Gambhir after scoring 11 Test fifties in a row to equal Vivian Richards’ World Record also fell to a surprise bouncer which he jabbed to the Keeper. The bowler was the 2-Test old Shafiul Islam taking a very good wicket and to deny a century for Gambhir (68 from 83 balls with 9 fours) who would have equaled the World Record for the most number of centuries with Sir Don Bradman.
The third pacer of Bangladesh – Rubel Hossain produced a similar rising delivery to Rahul Dravid who also fended it behind the stumps like the previous two batsmen and got caught but it turned out to be a noball! Dravid also survived a close run out off the bowler’s hand. He made most of his luck with Sachin Tendulkar to bat India to the big lead. Tendulkar was also lucky to be dropped when his late glide was put down at gully. By Tea, India cruised to 301 for 2 in 69 overs with both Dravid and Tendulkar closing in towards their centuries.
After Tea, Sachin Tendulkar was the first to bring up his 45th Test hundred followed up by Dravid who brought up his 29th Test century. Dravid’s joy was shattered when Shahadat Hossain with the second new ball got a bouncer to follow him and hit the side of the helmet grill. Dravid after taking that nasty blow decided to retire hurt as a caution. He had got his 111 runs in 188 balls with a dozen boundaries besides putting on an unbroken partnership of 222 with Tendulkar.
Replacing Dravid in the middle was the stylish specialist opener Murali Vijay, walking in at no.5. Vijay easily absorbed the hostile spell from the likes of Shahadat Hossain to get India going again in the company of Tendulkar. India got past the 400-run mark and the batsmen decided to up the ante with the day coming to an end. In the process, Vijay (30) and Tendulkar (143 from 182 balls with 13 fours and a six) perished attempting the big shots off Shakib Al Hasan. India finished the day at 459 for 5 in 102.5 overs with Harbhajan Singh being the last man dismissed. MS Dhoni is batting on 22 and Yuvraj is yet to come out.
The pitch has started to show lot of uneven bounce. Some of the balls are staying low while some are rearing up to confuse the batsmen. Dravid certainly misjudged the bounce to get hit on the helmet. Ishant Sharma for the kind of lengths he bowls will be the key factor tomorrow. The ball is also stopping onto the bat to make strokeplay a touch difficult.