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Vijay, Rahane dominate on rainy day

Shakib and Jubair struck for Bangladesh but this did not stop India's march towards a big first-innings score

Vijay, Rahane dominate on rainy day - Cricket News
Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay added 114 runs for the fourth wicket, taking India to a comfortable 462 for 3 at the end of day 3 at Fatullah.
After two days of damp and dark weather in India’s one-off Test against Bangladesh, Friday (June 12) dawned bright, sunny and promised more play than had been seen in a truncated first day and a washed out second. Eventually, only 47.3 overs of the scheduled 98 were bowled, in which India swelled its first-innings total to 462 for 6, scoring 223 runs in the day. India’s batting, which had waltzed smoothly in 56 overs on the opening day, mirrored the weather on the third, starting in lively fashion, having a mini wobble, resuming normal service and then going for broke even as the skies kept getting darker.
 
M Vijay was the bulwark, his 150 off 272 balls the thread that held India together, even as play kept getting interrupted by rain that played hide-and-seek in the last two sessions of play.
 
Ajinkya Rahane, meanwhile, continued his run-glut before falling two short of his century. His innings of 98 took only 103 balls without a shot hit in anger, and was a key feature of a 114-run stand for the fourth wicket with Vijay. On either side of that stand, Bangladesh’s spin duo of Shakib Al Hasan and Jubair Hossain had alternately tempted and outfoxed batsmen whose gameplan seemed to be to ensure the tempo of the innings never flagged.
 
In eighth over of the day, Vijay was offered a full and wide ball from Taijul Islam. A finessed steer later, the ball had sped to the backward point boundary, and the helmet was off to celebrate a well-earned sixth Test century. After that, Vijay immediately got back into the unruffled zone of a set batsman.


 
At the other end, Shikhar Dhawan had progressed smoothly to 173 – exactly 100 runs more than the score he was dropped on, on Day 1 – when Bangladesh got their first breakthrough. Having hit Shakib to the midwicket fence, Dhawan came down the track in an attempt to repeat that shot. However, the bowler spotted that, bowled it slower and into the pads, and then snapped up the resultant leading edge. Dhawan didn’t get the maiden Test double he looked good for, but his 195-ball innings had given India the quick runs it needed in a rain-affected match.
 
The opening pair just failed to beat the 289 they had put on when they first batted together on Dhawan’s debut, falling six short. But from 283 without loss, India found itself 310 for 3, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli exiting in quick succession. The team management had kept the faith with Rohit, but given a golden opportunity to cement his spot at No.3, the batsman wafted at a Shakib ball that thudded into the stumps.
 
Kohli had looked the part, but 19-year-old Jubair was rewarded for a probing spell when the batsman inside-edged his wrong ‘un on to the boot, from where it trickled towards the stumps and disturbed the bails. Kohli’s fall brought together the two men who have been the most consistent across India’s numerous overseas assignments, and both Rahane and Vijay showed that the pitch didn’t hold demons yet, and negotiating the bowlers only required an extra degree of alertness.
 
Mushfiqur Rahim then took the second new ball after 88 overs, having waited a while when it became available after 80 overs.
 
The batsmen scored at more than five per over, but never once looked like they were trying to slog their way to quick runs, a touch, a caress or some deft timing and placement doing the trick. Uninterrupted clear skies throughout meant India had added 159 runs in the 37 overs possible in the first session, to go to lunch on 398 for 3, with Vijay (144) and Rahane (55) completely at ease.


 
The first of the rain interruptions meant play started 70 minutes late after lunch, but stopped almost as soon as it began, only to start up again. The frequency of stoppages probably played a part in Vijay losing his concentration and missing a sweep shot off Shakib, but the bowler too had earned his reward. Through large parts of the day, neither Shakib nor Jubair were afraid of giving the ball air. The pitch had more purchase in it than on the first day, but it was the bowlers’ courage, allied with the discipline of finding the correct length, that allowed Bangladesh a measure of success. A perfect example was Wriddhiman Saha being undone by Jubair’s googly, having failed to pick the delivery.
 
Rahane became Shakib’s fourth victim, when his pull connected with air and the furniture was rattled. With a century in sight, Rahane could have chosen to play safely, but he put all thoughts of the approaching landmark aside in trying to go for quick runs.
 
Harbhajan Singh, on Test comeback, hardly had the time to swing his bat around before play was interrupted yet again. This time, the rain was more unforgiving, and never relented. The players never came back on. Two days still remain in this Test, and another 9.30 am start is scheduled for Saturday, but if the weather continues to be as treacherous, it is difficult to see either team forcing a result.

To see full scorecard, click here.

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