Pant, Pujara help India recover to 174-4 at tea

Chattogram, Dec 14 (PTI) Rishabh Pant’s counter-attacking prowess was complemented by Cheteshwar Pujara’s obdurance as India recovered to 174 for 4 at tea on the opening day of the first Test against Bangladesh here on Wednesday.

Pant showed the much-needed aggression, hitting six fours and two sixes in his 45-ball, 46-run knock as he along with Pujara (42 not out) added 64 runs after India were reduced to 48 for 3 in the 20th over.

After Pant departed in the post-lunch session, Pujara forged another unfinished 62-run stand off 146 balls with Shreyas Iyer (41 not out) to continue India’s recovery from the early blows.

At the break, Pujara and Iyer were at the crease.

With the surface more suited to spin, both teams went in with two pacers and three spinners.

The KL Rahul-led India expectedly opted to bat but squandered the opportunity by allowing the Bangladesh bowlers to dominate the proceedings.

Skipper Rahul (22), Shubman Gill (20) and Virat Kohli (1) were the batters to be dismissed. Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam was the standout bowler for Bangladesh as he removed Gill and Kohli.

The aggressive approach that Rahul spoke about ahead of the game was missing in the first session.

Spin was introduced as early as in the sixth over and Rahul greeted his counterpart Shakib Al Hasan with a cut through the point region.

Gill too showed intent with a cut and pull off pacer Ebadot Hossain in the following over as India reached 30 for no loss in seven overs.

However, the boundaries dried up thereafter as Bangladesh bowlers stuck to stump to stump line and stifled the Indians.

Gill perished to a poor shot, an avoidable sweep, while Rahul played away from his body off pacer Khaled Ahmed only to drag it back on to the stumps.

Kohli fell to a beauty from Islam who got one to turn sharply from leg-stump to hit the back leg of the star Indian batter. India went for a review which was unsuccessful.

The top-order batters could have used their feet more against the spinners but preferred to stay back in the crease.

The much-needed attacking approach was displayed once again by Pant who put the pressure back on Islam by smashing him for a couple of fours and a six over wide long-on.

Pant welcomed offie Mehidy Hasan Miraz with a square cut while Islam conceded two boundaries in the last over of the morning session.

Pujara should have been dismissed very early in the second session but Nurul Hasan couldn’t hold on to the rare opportunity in the 27th over off Hossain.

Pant continued to look for quick runs and hammered Miraz and Hossain for two more boundaries. The keeper-batter also clobbered Miraz over deep midwicket for a maximum but the spinner had the last laugh as he cleaned him up next ball in the 32nd over.

It was a loose shot from Pant as his bottom-edge trickled onto the stumps to leave India at 112 for 4.

Getting an early reprieve, Pujara sent one from Hossain across the third-man fence before getting another boundary off Ahmed.

Iyer looked a touch nervous initially but he picked up three boundaries off Miraz spread over three overs.

Source: PTI News


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