Indian batsmen rule on opening day of Test
May 18, 2007 - 7:53:54 PM
Chittagong, May 18 - Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar were within hand shaking distance from centuries as India dominated the truncated opening day of the first Test against Bangladesh, finishing at 295 for three wickets here Friday.
Both looked in fine fettle and at close Ganguly - was just 18 runs short of his 13th hundred and Tendulkar -, who holds the world record of most Test centuries, was within sight of his 36th century.
Captain Rahul Dravid -, who won the toss, and Dinesh Karthik - were the other batsmen to hit 50s as India dominated the hosts at the Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium.
Ganguly and Tendulkar have so far raised 163 runs off 263 balls for the fourth wicket in over three hours of batting and were looking poised to rake in more runs Saturday, when play starts early to compensate for the loss of play Friday. The day was cut short by 13 overs owing to rains during the lunch interval and poor visibility towards the close of play.
Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar used seven bowlers but largely without success. Speedster Mashrafe Mortaza took two wickets to be the most successful bowler.
Earlier, the match started sensationally when Wasim Jaffer shouldered arms to the very first delivery from Mortaza and was castled by a ball that cut back sharply to surprise him.
An elated Mortaza ran a long celebratory lap and the entire Bangladeshi team chased him. The spectators, who had barely settled down then in their seats, started jumping with joy.
But the home team's delight was short lived as Dravid and opener Karthik frustrated a pepped up Bangladeshi attack for the next 31 overs.
Playing his 108th Test match, Dravid batted in his usual responsible manner. He took time to settle down and then played a few delectable strokes on both sides of the wicket. He reached his 47th half-century that came off 59 balls and included 10 boundaries.
Karthik, in his 12th match, was more a bit circumspect and reached his third half-century off 77 balls and hit eight fours.
When Dravid and Karthik took lunch at 113 for one, with a bright sun shining down, they had placed India in a sound position. But seconds after the players went into their dressing rooms, the skies opened up and 55 minutes were lost owing to rains.
Soon after lunch Karthik was out, Mortaza having him caught by vice-captain Mohammad Ashraful at mid-off for a well made half-century.
After the addition eight runs, pacer Shahadat Hossian, who bowled an inspired spell, got rid of Dravid with the first ball of his second spell.
It was an express delivery outside the off stump that rose awkwardly and came in sharply to surprise Dravid. He attempted to square cut it but the bounce was unexpected and managed only an edge to wicket-keeper Khaled Mashud.
From 124 for two wickets, India were now 132 for three. Dravid's fall brought Tendulkar - and Ganguly -, the two most experienced players of the side, together.
Tendulkar, dropped for the first time in his almost 18-year international career when fit for the just concluded One-day International series, and Ganguly started cautiously as two wickets had fallen quickly.
But soon they assessed the bowling attack and the pitch, which was shorn of grass though it had a good bounce for the pacers. Only towards the end of the day, one Rajin Saleh delivery to Ganguly almost skidded through when the batsman was on 74.
The two batsmen dominated the attack for most part. Ganguly was a bit more adventurous as he stepped out against veteran left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique to hit two sixes.
In the unbroken fourth wicket century stand, Ganguly's contribution is 82 and Tendulkar's 75.
Off-spinner Ramesh Powar became the 254th Indian player to make his Test debut when he was included in the XI. Pacer Munaf Patel had back spasm and he was replaced by Rudra Pratap Singh.
Virender Sehwag missed a Test for the first time in almost six years since his debut in 2001 though he is fit and available. He played in the ODI series that ended this week here, but was dropped for lack of runs for the two-match Test series.
Bangladesh also handed a Test cap to all-rounder Sakibul Hasan while Tushar Imran missed the match due to fever.
Day 1, First Test, India vs. Bangladesh, Bir Shrestha
Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium, Chittagong
Wasim Jaffer b Mortaza 0
Dinesh Karthik c Ashraful b Mortaza 56
Rahul Dravid c Mashud b Hossain 61
Sachin Tendulkar batting 80
Sourav Ganguly batting 82
Extras: - 16 Total: - 295 Fall of wickets: 1-0 -, 2-124 -, 3-132 -
Mashrafe Mortaza 18 5 64 2 -
Shahadat Hossain 9 1 33 1 -
Mohammad Rafique 20 2 89 0
Enamul Haque - 13 0 57 0 -
Saqibul Hasan 13 2 29 0
Mohammad Ashraful 1 0 5 0
Rajin Saleh 3 1 12 0
Umpires: Daryl Harper - and Billy Doctrove -
TV umpire: Enamul Hoque Moni -
Reserve umpire: Jahangir Alam -
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama -
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