Bangladesh openers hit fifties as hosts reach 119 for no loss at lunch

Chattogram, Dec 17 (PTI) Openers Zakir Hasan and Najmul Hossain Shanto batted with a lot of purpose as their gritty half-centuries helped Bangladesh reach 119 for no loss at lunch against India on the fourth day of the first Test here on Saturday.

While the target of 513 is still a distant dream, the two left-handers have shown a lot more application on a track which still looks good for batting.

Incidentally, the century plus stand by Zakir (55 batting) and Shanto (64 batting) is the highest by any opening pair against India in Test matches.

Hasan and Shanto hit eight and seven boundaries respectively as the Indian bowling attack didn’t look menacing during the first hour.

Both pacers Mohammed Siraj (10-1-32-0) and Umesh Yadav (6-2-11-0) didn’t bowl too many wicket-taking balls.

Umesh, especially bowled short and wide as Zakir slashed him over deep third man while Shanto imperiously pulled the veteran pacer behind square.

Shanto also hit back-to-back boundaries off Siraj — a beautiful on-drive which was followed by a flick towards square leg boundary.

However, the best shot of the morning was played by Zakir when he lofted Ravichandran Ashwin (14-2-43-0) inside out over extra cover to disturb the off-spinner’s length.

With the track not showing any considerable wear and tear, Ashwin, who normally requires a bit of assistance from 22-yards, didn’t really trouble the batters.

Zakir and Shanto didn’t attack Ashwin but also didn’t let him settle down to one length by rotation of strike with singles.

At this point, India doesn’t need to press the panic button but with a little help from the pitch, the worrying factor will be if the home team top-order bats long enough to save the game.

Against Ashwin and Axar Patel, both the openers were plonking their front-foot and smothering any little bit of turn that could be on offer.

The only person who is getting some turn is Kuldeep Yadav but wrist spinners are normally known to take pitch out of equation when it comes to deviation of the surface.

The frustration was palpable as Siraj during his second spell of the morning started sledging Shanto, who did the right thing by not retaliating and smiling back at the Indian speedster.

Source: PTI News


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